People are upset by this high school’s discriminatory ban on natural hairstyles

Today in ~subtle~ racism, Butler Traditional High School, a school based in Louisville, Kentucky, was forced to backtrack on exclusionary dress code policies following backlash from concerned parents and people across the country. The policy, which targeted natural hairstyles and styles worn common in black culture, is *so* blatantly horrible.


One part of the personal grooming section read:

“Hair styles that are extreme, distracting, or attention-getting will not be permitted. No dreadlocks, cornrolls, twists, mohawks, and no jewelry will be worn in hair.”

Obviously this specifically targets black students, as black culture is where we see dreadlocks, cornrows, and twists the most. These natural hairstyles are demonized enough as it is; why does a high school need to reinforce this nonsense? The policy continues to ban “afros more than two inches in length” and “cut-in designs.” Again: both things that are most common amongst black students.

When personal grooming as relates to hair is called into question, it almost always results in the policing of black students. Why? Because black hair is inherently seen as distracting and unprofessional.


Attica Scott, a frustrated parent, posted photos of the discriminatory policy to Twitter.

Luckily, social media got involved.

From there, it blew up on social media largely due to Shaun King picking up the story and expressing his own frustration about how, time and time again, dress codes target marginalized students. In an attempt to control youth and “prepare” them for the professional world, policies like this simply force students to assimilate into whiteness in a way that, in a word, is 100% *unfair.*


One student not only defended natural hairstyles, but pointed out that students are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” in regard to how they wear their hair.

According to Good Housekeeping, one student, Shayla Ford, told Click2Houston,“That’s our way of life. Because if I don’t have my twists, if I don’t have my cornrows, if I don’t have my hair braided, then I get complaints from the kid behind me that he can’t see.”

Why would a school system think it’s better for a kid like Ford to be removed from class over a hairstyle they deem “attention-getting” than to just let her learn in peace?

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