it's one thing to read about the negative experiences in having natural hair on some of the blogs i get on, but it's another to experience it. and my response was one of compliance, but i suppose the expression on my face said otherwise, because my boss asked me a few minutes after her remark -"i didn't offend you did i?" fortunately for me, this is a job i plan on leaving in about 3 months after i save up a bit for college-this is NOT a career. what i thought most about throughout the day was the discomfort women with natural hair must have in corporate jobs or ones they consider the careers they want to be in. what does one do in one of those situations wherein if you don't comply with their policies, they're likely to be terminated? it's a bit uncomfortable feeling as though my boss thinks i look a mess, and based almost solely only my hair....which is based on her negative Western indoctrination of natural black hair.
but the most interesting thing of that day was the responses i got from different customers. one white guy asked me whether i was going after the Lauryn Hill look (as if he knows ANYTHING about Lauryn...), another screamed "Macy Gray" at me and asked if i could sing him a song. two guests told me they liked my hair, and another brother told me to keep it natural "cuz thats real".
the compliments are okay, however the other remarks are a bit annoying. it's as if my hair is a gimmick or a form of entertainment as opposed to being just what my hair looks like naturally. i'm not Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Macy Gray, Angela Davis, Jill Scott, Afro Samurai, or a character from Good Times. and my hair is not a show, a costume, a joke, or the manifestation of an attention-deprived black girl. i am just me and my hair looks the way it grows out of my scalp. nothing more or less. but i'm not surprised. i'm the only one i've seen down here with a real fro longer than a couple inches. and while people in the north are so used to it to the point at which they're starting to look at relaxed sisters a bit funny (maybe thats a stretch...), the south is still about 50 years behind with 100 naturals in Atlanta alone and about 6 scattered around the tri-state area.
i've yet to fully figure out what i'm going to do about my boss at work (because a puff gets a bit boring after a while...and because my fro has the right to do whatever the fuck she wants when she wants...). i may send some messages to some natural websites with my company name and a letter of the type of treatment natural hair receives in southern Alabama or i may just have a sit-down and ask to see the wardrobe and appearance policy with a special explanation on the hair. or i may just let it go. this is a temporary job and the customer comments do nothing but add unnecessary frustration to my day.
comment. think. criticize. encourage.