Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Natural African Hair Banned in the Baltimore Police Department

The Baltimore Police Dept and City Council has effectively banned the wearing of natural African hair. This new policy effective January 1st will require women with locs to cut their hair off and those with natural styles straighten their hair in order to "conform." To view more about this policy and voice your outrage, please go to this link:

As noted on the sidebar of this blog, I'm a member of The purpose of that website is to promote the natural texture of African hair. is your resource for the style and beauty of Natural Black Hair. We are dedicated to all the women in the diaspora who proudly wear their highly textured hair naturally.
For too long blacks have been raised to be ashamed of their hair. For those of us who have chosen to embrace the natural texture of our hair some have been regulated to being "fadish" and others have been told their hair is unprofessional or they "need to get their hair done." Because it's something that has been internalized into black culture, it's even more insidius.

However, it must stop because it's just as bad as any other form of discrimination. You'd never tell Heidi to change the texture of the hair that grows out of her head, so don't tell me to change mine.

If you agree with my sentiments, please go to this petition and sign it. Also, if you're moved to do so, follow-up with a letter or email.

Here is a link to Baltimore PD's Policy document (an .rtf file that you can open in MS Word): Professional Appearance Standards

Furthermore, write your representatives because this is truly a serious issue. Here is the link to find your representative if you are a US citizen (if you're not international outrage sways policy too):

Also, here is the link to write the Congressional Black Caucus:

Letters can also be sent to:
Police Commissioner Leonard Hamm
Baltimore Police Department
242 West 29th Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21211-2908
Email to:

It's so important to fight racial stereotypes. One that is deeply ingrained in society is that African hair in its natural state is unattractive and unprofessional.

The beginning paragraph and online petition can also be found at

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill's blog on this issue
Update, January 2, 2007:

The policy has been rescinded. However, I've yet to get my hands on a press release or link verifying that. Once I get something, anything, I'll link it.

Thanks to all that signed the petition and/or took other action.

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  1. Jane, long time no see!

    Happy New Year to ya!

    I've been away from your site, but you were never out of my mind. And I missed your insightful posts/threads.
    Thanks for posting this.

    I wear my hair naturally: Afro OR braids.
    I am proud of my gravity-defying hair and would not trade it for all the straight, stringy hair in the world.

    Since places of employment cannot refuse to hire us on skin color without risking a discrimination lawsuit, they pick on something that only black people have: our naturally nappy, tightly coiled hair.

    And you cannot get any more natural than wearing your hair in either an Afro or braids, both "hairsyles" that are over 5,000 years old.

    And I am so glad that these 6 black women stood up in defense of themselves. They have a right to wear their hair that God gave them. NO ONE would dare to think of insulting, degrading or disrespecting a non-black person on how they wear their hair. But with black people, it's open season on our natural features.

    Here's to a great New Year for you.

    Love your blog!

  2. Welcome back and thanks for your comment!

    That's my retort all the time when someone is concerned that I now wear my hair as it is. No one seems to be crapping bricks over how Heidi or Becky wears her hair, so don't trip over how I wear mine. As long as it's neat, it shouldn't matter.

    Happy New Year to you too!

  3. I forgot to add the policy has been rescinded, so for now, it's a victory. I'm still holding my breath for what the new policy will be though.


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