Over the past decade natural hair has grown in popularity among the under-30 black female crowd. Many of us have decided to step away from relaxers and bone-straight hair in favor of quenched and defined curls. Although, it’s “just hair”, it can’t be ignored that we’re taking part of a pivotal moment in history. But how do these changes affect our professional lives? We are still occasionally stopped in our tracks and faced with other people’s ignorance and cruelty, which is why it’s an unspoken rule in many black homes not to show up to job interviews or work with big hair, braids and even locs in some cases.
In May 2012 I worked as a dental assistant for two Russian dentists who where the best at their service in Eccella Smiles. I arrived to work a bit early on this particular day and instead of the compact bun that I usually wore, I donned an afro ponytail because I hadn’t gotten the chance to put my hair up and my first patient wasn’t set to arrive for another 30 minutes. Almost immediately after I removed my second arm from my jacket I was met with laughter, followed by “You look like one of those…what do you call them? The dolls with the hair…a troll doll baby!”. Not 10 minutes after that occurred, I was pulled aside by the less willing to joke and more stern dentist who told me “you have to wear your hair organized”. This took place in front of other employees and was quite embarrassing. That would not be the first time I had contemplated making it my last day. Instead, humiliated, I twisted my puff and put my hair in the bun as I had intended to before I was tag teamed by the Black hair police.