Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Are dreadlocks about policy or deep-rooted insecurities?

Published:Monday | August 3, 2020 | 12:11 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

We talk about ‘systematic everything’. Let us talk about black on black empowerment of Jamaican youths, beginning in the homes and continuing throughout our education system. Real change arising out of discrimination protected by rules and policies must be challenged.

There was a time in this country when women could not obtain employment in certain institutions if their shade and hair were not of a particular hue and texture. Forget about commercials. Natural hair and braids were unacceptable, paving the way for pressing and relaxing of hair with harsh chemicals that damaged many black women scalps, and still do.

Then came the hair weaves with the unforgettable tracks. If your chappie came too close to stroking your hair, you did a drawback as fast as you could. Oh, how I practised the art of drawback. He just could not tolerate the feel of those tracks. We certainly have progressed to that of lace wigs. Who can really tell? To each his own. However, I have fully accepted my own hair texture for many moons. Therefore, unapologetically comfortable with my style of sister-locks.

Braids have stepped up a notch. Does the school in question accept braids? Is grooming really the issue or is it the domesticated belief that dreadlocks is an abomination?

SELF-ACCEPTANCE

It is fair to say that impressive academic achievements resulting in intellectuals both women and men have nothing to do with self-acceptance.

Far too many have remained mentally enslaved, unable to shake their own discriminatory upbringing. Money and affluence are outward as self-hate is inward. Rearing its ugly head on pen and paper, in rules, policies legislature, constitution. What better way to hide your own self-hate than to one day be the author of oppressive and discriminatory policies. Standing behind them. Using them as your shield, knowing full well the intent was blatant, discriminatory and bigoted.

Would you object to a rule or policy in our schools saying, if your child is 10lb overweight they will be expelled? Childhood obesity can be a death sentence. Do you not think excess weight can affect a child’s overall grooming, well-being and health? Compare that to dreadlocks.

This seven-year-old girl will one day be extremely proud of her parents. They fought hard for her for two years for her rights. Accepting yourself, loving your true self, choice of hairstyle and all starts from the voices of mom and dad.

DIANE SHARPE