BLACKSTRANDS

BLACK MEN ON THE JOB

Is little to no hair "the business" for black men?                                       Carol Nicora/ flickr

Is little to no hair "the business" for black men? Carol Nicora/ flickr

First of all, I owe all the readers a big E-Hug for my week away lol

Every now and then a vacation and/or break is in order for sanity.

SO, in getting back in the swing of things…

One issue I’ve been thinking about lately is natural hairstyles and men.

Supposedly, attitudes towards black women who wear their natural hair in the workplace are shifting. *please reminisce with me to the Glamour Magazine drama in 2007*

After awhile this had me thinking…where does that leave the brothas?

It’s kind of a completely different ball game for them, simply because of the status quo: All men are usually expected to cut their hair in a corporate setting. Regardless of race – whether black, white, Latino, Asian, or whatever – once things start inching past the roots, its away with the hair for most fellas.

Although corporate settings in larger cities (like Chicago, New York, Atlanta etc) may give brothas a little lee-way. It seems that natural (or even afro-centric) hair styles are being seen more and more as a woman’s prerogative. If a woman ditches relaxers for whatever reason (damage due to chemicals, embracing her identity, etc) and rocks more natural styles – it’s not necessarily assumed that she’s hair politicking in the office. For guys, however, it may be a different story.

heather-parker-flickr

Heather Parker/ flickr

I found a BNET article from 2001 (click the link to read) that talks about this issue a bit more, but I wonder… how much have things changed over the last 8 years – if at all?

My questions to you are…

What’s your opinion on natural styles (like neatly kempt corn rows, dreds, twists, etc) on black men  in the work place?  Do you think  employers handle  things  fairly? Do you even think that black women are getting less slack for rocking natural styles- do your experiences suggest otherwise?

And for the men out there, how do you feel about the matter? Any personal stories or perspectives?

:: I’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts::

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4 Responses

  1. Carloz says:

    From a man’s perspective, it seems as though it is like you said Dani it depends on location. Also, maybe even how successful a person wants to become or has the potential to become in their work field. Moreover, the type of job that a person does.

    For example BET news correspondent Jeff Johnson “rocks” dreadlocks, and I feel he is able to do that because again location, D.C. Yet, he is being broadcast on a large scale so usually the time slot given to him is about 11:00PM when nobody is usually up to watch the news and him .Finally, because he is not watched by the “common” audience and has dreds, he loses some ability to market himself , faces racial stereotypes, and has less opportunities to progress in his career.

    So….yeah to answer your question about employers being fair, it depends, however overall I would say no.

    • blackstrands says:

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Great to hear a man’s perspective :O>

      I do agree with you on the time slot and “it depends” situation. I think most employers may not directly say anything about dreads (or other styles like cornrows or twists) but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t treat the employee differently – or even make it so he isn’t seen above a certain a level.

      Sad, but sometimes true.
      Definitely something to think about…

  2. My cousin is in the Sean John Face of the Future Contest and similarly to the above discussion, he is the only entrant rocking a fro in a sea of close cuts. Even in the modeling industry brothers are underrepresented as far as natural hair. I hope that this dynamic will change in the future and make its way into corporate America as well.

  3. blackstrands says:

    Wow, for some reason I would have thought the modeling industry would have a lot more diversity – at least in the hair department- and with it being an ethnic modeling competition as well…

    I’m happy to see your cousin in reppin though :)
    best of luck to him!

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