6 Kids Speak Out Against Hair Discrimination
One day last spring, Jett Hawkins, 5, asked his mom to braid his hair for him. He loved the way it looked: “I was so proud and happy,” says Jett, who lives in Chicago. But when he got to school, his mother says, an administrator called her and told her that his hairstyle had broken a school policy that banned students from wearing braids, locs and twists.
Jett is not the only kid who has been singled out at school for wearing natural Black styles. Hair-based discrimination can be official, like when a school handbook states that students can’t wear braids, or unofficial, like when a teacher tells a student that their Afro is “too distracting.” Either way, it “sends the message that your culture and your identity is not accepted,” says Danielle Apugo, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies Black women and girls’ experiences at school.
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