War on Dreads

War on Dreads

Hair is an important part of almost every lifestyle. Whether one flaunts their dreads down to their toes with flower pins and bows, a sweet pixie cut, a buzz cut, or the problem do; dreadlocks or no hair at all. People sporting any hairstyle is bound to be ridiculed at some point. When does ridicule become discrimination?

Charles Craddock was given a summer job at Ceder Point Amusement Park in Subdusky, Ohio, after a Skype interview. Excited to begin earning the wages to pay for his auto mechanics tuition, and one might assume, having the opportunity to work at an amusement park! Craddock packed his bags and moved into the parks dorms. Soon after, it all came crashing down.

Although Craddock had specifically asked about the condition of his hair. Even though his hairstyle had been seen via Skype for the interview, his orientation and was then relocated to be a part of their team, the 20-year-old Ohio man was told his four-year journey with dreadlocks would need to come to an end if he wanted to continue to work at the amusement park.

Craddock opposed to the idea of cutting his dreads. “It would be like losing a part of me,” he stated.

Craddock’s story is not the only one of this nature. A variety of hairstyles are often viewed as distractions and they are told to take control of it. This causes one to hide their identity and be someone they are not, all because someone else may feel uncomfortable. Well, that opinion does not fit everyone.

If one person’s looks are bothersome to someone else, their response should be to look away. People come in all different shapes and sizes. People thrive and express themselves through different styles. Sometimes outward appearance plays a great part in happiness. It is necessary and should be more acceptable to embrace these differences and not reject them.

In August of 2013, the army received backlash after black women discovered that even the most natural hairstyles would be banned. Cornrows, small braids, afros, nor dreads would be allowed while perms and haircuts were nurtured.

A Virginia moving company told a qualified man, with seven years of experience, that he would not be hired by the company, due to his dreads. He even offered to pull it back or wear a cap. The company still declined. Christopher Woodsoon replied the job did not require close contact with the customers and his hair should not have been a problem.

The problem remains. People are all allowed to make choices in our lives. There are many choices people make for themselves that truly are not offensive to anyone if they would look beyond what they believed and be open to learning new things. Jobs are a must have in this world. If someone does not have a job, people say, “well why didn’t he cut his hair instead of keeping the dreads?” Are people not allowed self-expression?

Discrimination is alive and rampant. We see it in our neighborhoods and workplaces. It is not uncommon in the news. It is not something that can truly be ignored. Instead, people must make a difference. Silence only adds to the problem. As well as, complaining about the unemployment of young black youth, but not supporting a man that refuses to alter his appearance for a job where his most loyal customers are children.

Opinion by Dominique King


NY daily news: Ohio man claims dreads cost him summer job
CNN: Army hairstyle debate
Black Enterprise: Virginia moving company says dreadlocks reason for not hiring a man

Image Courtesy of Elvert Barnes’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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