A Hair-Raising Tale: The Suspension of Darryl George
In a world where personal style serves as a form of self-expression, one 17-year-old Texas student, Darryl George faced an unexpected backlash for his hairstyle choice. Not from other students, but from his school. George, a diligent student, was suspended from school, and his education was disrupted simply because of how he chose to wear his hair.
George’s hairstyle is in “locs” or “dreadlocks,” which actually reflect a rich cultural tradition. However, his school considered it against its policy, which states that “male students’ hair must be above the collar, earlobes, and eyes”. Odd he was found out of dress code when his locks were twisted. For those unfamiliar it basically means “neatly pulled up in a style” which would not be below the collar, earlobes, or eyes. This incident raises a critical question: Should regulations regarding physical appearance in schools infringe on students’ personal or cultural expressions?
George’s story gained national attention, highlighting a larger issue – hair discrimination. This discriminatory practice, often racialized, has been overlooked for years, impacting not just students but also professionals in various fields. In response to such incidents, several states have adopted the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act. This law prohibits race-based hair discrimination and prevents denial of employment and educational opportunities on grounds of hair texture or protective hairstyles.
The CROWN Act and North Carolina
Right now, North Carolina still hasn’t passed the CROWN Act. That means people there can still face hair-based discrimination at work, school, and in public. If this law is passed, it could make a huge difference in North Carolina by letting people like George and me, freely express our cultural heritage without fear. It would validate our identities and promote a more inclusive and diverse society.
Darryl George’s story shows why we need these laws nationwide, not just in North Carolina. It’s a reminder to confront our biases and strive for a society where everyone, regardless of their hair texture or style, is treated with respect and equality.