The decision to allow students to wear revealing dreadlocks and cornrow hairstyles at school, as outlined in the Department of Education’s new national grooming policy, has been a very long overdue one.
Barbados is a country populated by people of African descent. Frowning and opposing hair in its most natural, God-given state should have been dealt with firmly long ago.
We speak eloquently of a new national consciousness. Next week, the right-hand man of the person we celebrate, Errol Walton Burrow, asked us to reflect on what mirror image we hold of ourselves.・Prime Minister Amor Motley proudly wears her natural hair. africa awareness month and embrace our legacy.
Still, it wasn’t until 2023 that I decided to “allow” and “accept” natural hair.
The road to get here has been long, challenging and winding, but it didn’t have to be.
In 1986, about 36 years ago, journalist John Seeley Daily Nation shocked the country.
British-born Ingrid Quarles, who was a hostess at the Grand Bay Beach Resort in Aquatic Gap, St. Michael, wore braids to work. I have received two verbal notices from the director that I will have to leave the facility if I do not follow orders to remove my braids. His orders were enforced by her superior and general manager, Alfred Taylor, who also confronted Quarrees.
The hostess was fired by Taylor for not complying, but she stood her ground.
“How can I get fired for having braids? Are there any rules in Barbados against braids? I’m a professional woman,” she asserted.
The dispute went to court. The story sparked public reaction, with many Barbadians feeling that asking a black woman to remove her braids was an insult to all people of African descent. It got a lot of attention.
When things calmed down, Quarless won a wrongful dismissal lawsuit and was awarded $2000.
Since then we have continued to have hair problems. The debate rages on from high-ranking professionals to students.
In 2008, there was a stir when the Democratic Labor Party, led by David Thompson, appointed Damian Griffiths to the Senate. This articulate and educated young man was vilified at the time for walking into the Houses of Parliament wearing cornrows.
Today we were fortunate enough to see the Speaker of the House, Arthur Holder, in dreadlocks and carrying out his duties unhindered.
There has always been a perception within the entertainment circle that practicing Rastafarians like: Observer When Adonijah Get the raw trades at Pick O De Crop Finals for their crown.
In 2015, several former students at Harrison College created an online petition challenging Principal Juanita Wade’s stance, which claimed that twisted-out hairstyles were “not appropriate for school.”
Last year, dreadlocked Rastafarian students faced a challenge at the beginning of the Trinity term.
At the time, Paul Simba Locke, president of the African Heritage Foundation, said that Rastafarian children were being sent home from secondary school and there was an increase in correspondence telling parents/guardians that their hairstyles did not comply. I lamented that… school rules. He said it amounted to discrimination against those children.
Locke said he had written to nine principals about the issue, as well as chief education officer Dr. Ramona Archer Bradshaw, asking them to meet with his organization to address the issue. I was.
This wasn’t the first time the Rastafarian community was forced to stand up for minors. In 2013, the family, led by Ras Ijuijah, refused to send their children to school and chose to homeschool them.
The matter went to court, and the family was vindicated three years later when the lawsuit filed against them was dismissed.
When some people in society claim that they are being given a poor deal or being treated unfairly, we can hardly deny or justify it.
But when it comes to hair, how are black women so accepting of others that they have no problem buying the look and texture of other races’ hair and wearing it as their own? Is it possible? ?
Cliques in our society want us to be more accepting of things like same-sex ties, but why do some people continue to frown on natural hair?
Creating a national grooming policy is just one of many steps needed to recalibrate the minds of those who have not yet fully accepted that black is beautiful from head to toe.
on the eve of Errol Barrow Day in just a few weeks from africa awareness monthour hope is that this policy that many have instigated over the years will bring us closer to where we should have been 36 years ago when Quarless was abruptly fired.
Thank you to the Rastafarian community, parents and students for lending their voices to this controversial hair issue.This small but important victory is yours.
Our nation must also go so far as to continually reinforce to present and future generations that hair, skin color, address, etc. do not define a person’s character. never carry the same weight and value as the precious virtues outlined in the Good Book.