Theodore Vernell


Theodore VernellComment

I wake up every morning and I already have a strike against me: I'm a black man. I have been blessed to work in a field that allows me to use my talents in ways that gives me great opportunities to network and meet amazing people. But, this week I learned that my locs could disqualify me from promotions, advancements, and professional growth opportunities...legally. 


This week a federal court ruled that employers can discriminate against professionals who choose to wear locs. My question is simple, "How?" I remember the days of having to shave my beard for an interview, but now you're telling me that because I chose to wear my hair in a certain style I can legally be denied professional growth. 


In the complaint the employer (Catastrophe Management Solutions of Mobile, Alabama) stated that "dreadlocs can get messy". Excuse me, but what hair style can't get messy? As a human being I take pride in my appearance and ensure that my locs are both clean and professionally acceptable, but now that's not enough. In reading the complaint I became more frustrated with the ignorance held by many in positions of power. The decision was based on the fact that the locs were a physical trait that could be changed.


I could go on for days about what's accepted in some cultures (purple hair, blue hair, completely shaved head with pink stars) is frowned upon in others, but then again I would be typing this for the next few hours.


And people wonder why I sacrifice and invest in my own locs aren't going anywhere and neither am I.