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When we visualize the origins of corporate America, it’s a pretty petty monotonous one, think “Mad Men” type of setting where men are in higher regard and women are fighting for a chance to be noticed and respected. Luckily for America, and the world, things have slowly begun to change, and a more diversified workplace is now, if not always visible, imaginable.
The issues here lie in what was marked as aesthetically professional and what wasn’t. How much of corporate America is trying their best to replicate and perpetuate the image of a business professional, and how do we radically change that archetype in order to open up the floor (and office space) to a multicultural figure filling these positions, without having to transform and conform to someone they are not?
How to Make it Without Faking It
The laws are changing in corporate America as more and more awareness is spreading through the country, some parts faster than others. If you’re “pro” natural hair but are afraid of risking your job because of your natural hairstyle here’s how to deal with it best. First of all, own your natural beauty. Dress to professionally impress and show up to that interview with all the confidence and self-assured attitude you need to make the executive interviewing, you know you are more than competent for the job. When confidence exudes through you, it will reflect energy the company may need to fulfill that role. Only you can show have the strength and power within to show them your intelligence, creativity, and capabilities!
How to Deal With Uneducated or Prejudice Commentary
We hope that your work environment is a positive one, but there are some instances where men and women with natural hair, whether with locks, loose hair, braids, cornrows, or Bantu knots, are confronted with ignorant or unfriendly comments about their natural hair. No sweat, here’s how to deal with it for yourself, for your co-workers and for others to come. Don’t be afraid of confrontation. Open up the floor for dialogue. Though you may feel attacked by such comments, show them you are grounded and their comments are not only offensive but disrespectful. If the setting is right, educate them. In some instances, you may have to decide whether it is pure ignorance or lack of knowledge. Depending on your work environment, it may be wise to approach HR and have them organize and facilitate a conversation around what is appropriate and what is inappropriate around the work environment. Be direct, and make it clear in a professional manner that such comments need to be dealt with and disposed of.
The only way for things to change is by taking the active, necessary steps for change. If you consider yourself a professional, then you will show everyone around you just how serious and talented you are. If they want to be small-minded and judge your performance by your natural hairstyle, then you have the right to speak up for yourself and your choices. We feel pretty optimistic about the future and the changing world views. Your job should never be jeopardized because of your natural hair choices, and you have every right to express that.
What are your experiences as a professional with natural hair? Have they been mostly positive experiences, or have you experienced discriminatory remarks? If so, how did you deal with it and what were the results?
There’s nothing more useful than an open dialogue, let’s continue to grow and support each other!