As I became an adult, it became evident that I needed a full time job. So I did what most people do: apply for jobs. Among the sea of no's ranging from "You're not the right fit at this time" to silence, a staffing agency gave me a callback for an interview. Praise the most high because my bank account was looking pitiful. At this time I was still in my mother's home and as a new adult I asked her for advice on my outfit choice. I can still remember the way her face scrunched up when she asked about my hair. I was confused since I asked about my blazer while she was fixated on my full time natural hair. Her words were something like "No one will hire you with your hair looking like that."
It took me a few years to figure out how much internal racism she handed out for free. But this comment urged me to ask other women of color about their hair journeys in the workplace. I wasn't the only one who was encouraged to straighten my locks in the name of professionalism. Even laws have been passed to discriminate against natural hair. It doesn't make sense. My hair doesn't change the fact that I can get the job done. Straight hair doesn't keep people from being mediocre either.
If I can walk into a new job wearing my most professional clothes just to see my manager in sweatpants, then I shouldn't hear anything about my puffed out ponytail. These clients will be greeted with respect. These emails will get responded to. This report has been my superior's desk since they left early last Friday. As long as my hair isn't shedding or blocking the view of my work, we can make this office bearable for the next 8 hours.