With all the ways we have to physically express ourselves, from T-shirts with words on it to different types of footwear, there might be nothing more political than hair. Mohawks to shaggy bobs to Lady Gaga bows, hair debates seem to be endless and ongoing. But one school in Virginia is trying to cut the discussion off at the root (only hair pun we'll use, promise) by banning dreadlocks and cornrows on MBA male students.
Naturally, when any institution bans non-offensive self-expression that doesn't hurt anyone, our ears are immediately pricked. However, the ban at Hampton University — a historically black school — was implemented in 2001, and business school dean Sid Credle stands by his decision. Talking to the local ABC affiliate, Credle says, "All we're trying to do is make sure our students get into the job. What they do after that, that's you know, their business." The assertion is that, in a business environment, dreads and braids might feel out of place. And a lower job-placement rate doesn't just make applicants look bad — the school suffers, as well.
Yet, this is school, not the workplace. These individuals are gearing up for the real world, but aren't in it already. And while there is strong evidence that hairstyles and tattoos might affect the opinion of potential employers, there is no better way to change perceptions than to, well, change them. (Note: This writer has half her body covered in tattoos and doesn't feel like it reflects upon her work at all.) Especially since these particular hairstyles are, as The Huffington Post says, deeply rooted in the African-American community.
While there are certain corporate-style standards, it might be up to the student (and not the administration) to be mindful of their choices. But forbidding young men to wear a certain hairstyle feels like a way of perpetuating a stereotype. (The Huffington Post)