Sat | Oct 24, 2020

Letter of the Day | Black hair matters, too, Mr Holness

Published:Wednesday | August 5, 2020 | 12:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Dear Prime Minister Andrew Holness,

I am of Jamaican parentage/ethnicity and reside in London as part of the diaspora.

I was shocked and saddened recently to read the Supreme Court’s ruling on the wearing of dreadlocks in schools.

I have always been very proud of my Jamaican heritage – both of my parents come from Jamaica. I live in hope that we as a people progress and move forward, regardless of where we reside in the world. Jamaica, with an ‘out of many’ uniqueness, has world status. News from Jamaica reverberates internationally.

All around the world children in schools are able to mostly grow their hair to a length of their or their parents’ or guardians’ desire. I often schooled with Caucasian children with blonde hair streaming down their backs – swishing in the playground. Obviously, for health and safety reasons, hair may be tied appropriately for safety and protection. Surely, this would be the same for any dreadlocks hair?

This year the world has had, and continues to battle, as we are all aware, a global pandemic, which Jamaica so far has dealt with in an exemplary manner. We also have this 2020 has a serious reminder of how people from different ethnic backgrounds suffer proportionately far worse and in real terms are treated unfairly in the world. We don’t all have the ability to ‘breathe’ freely and exist in a fair and just manner. Black Lives Matter marches have taken place all around the world.

NATURAL FORM OF HAIRSTYLE

Dreadlocks is the most natural form of hairstyle of how to wear one’s hair. Our mirror image is to be loved. It is something to be embraced and celebrated without the addition of chemicals or trying to imitate something that we are not. Dreadlocks also has cultural ties and this, too, should be socially included, accepted and appreciated – embracing differences and diversities in people. Bob Marley wore dreadlocks. Black hair matters, too! Dreadlocks matter!

Jamaica’ greatest percentage population make-up is of African heritage.

So, Mr Prime Minister, please, would it be possible to understand properly why this draconian decision has been made by the Supreme Court? Who seriously authorised this? Change is obviously needed. The fairer a society, the better the people live in harmony.

I really hope this matter can be further investigated with a view to a fresh and honest strand of reality.

I look forward to your response, Mr Holness.

WENDY HUE