Maria Lloyd: Is Your Hair Keeping You Unemployed? Hampton University's Business School Thinks So | Kulture Kritic
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Maria Lloyd: Is Your Hair Keeping You Unemployed? Hampton University’s Business School Thinks So


Maria Lloyd: Is Your Hair Keeping You Unemployed? Hampton University’s Business School Thinks So

Hampton University’s Business School Bans Dreadlocks

by Maria Lloyd

As an alum of an HBCU, I am embarrassed by the decision made to ban male students from wearing dreadlocks and cornrows at Hampton University’s School of Business. The school’s dean, Sid Credle, argues that the ban has been effective in helping students land corporate jobs and that they should look the part when searching for employment.

College should be a source of innovation and independent thinking. When colleges, especially historically black colleges, encourage our youth to “look the part” we’re stepping into dangerous territory. We’re telling our youth to not think independently, to not consider creating their own source of income. In other words, we’re encouraging them to conform.

With African Americans being affected the worst by the economic downturn, the last thing we should be teaching our youth is to conform to the corporate environment. Let’s face it: Corporate America, like many things in this country, is not tailored for us. If it were, I can assure you we’d see more brown faces in positions of leadership. Entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency should be the primary subjects of business school curriculum at HBCUs across the nation.

Dean Credle’s argument exudes the generational disconnect between faculty and students that is occurring in colleges throughout the nation. How can you breed a new generation of leaders when you’re suppressing their style? Does a student’s appearance not attribute to their self-confidence? Although the ban is specifically for male students who enroll in the school’s five year MBA program’s seminar class, I think Dean Credle’s argument to support the ban should be challenged and deemed as an embarrassment to the school and his career.

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  1. Hollywood

    August 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Oh when it’s dreadlocks it individuality but a pair of $300 dollar sneakers its buffoonery?

  2. Diane DeArmond

    August 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I am NOT my hair and conforming to comfort corporations who look at my skin(anyway/still) to fit me in are not my idea of equal playing field. You know this classification falls under is called HBCU BS 101!and like race,creed or national origin, it is against discrimination laws to ban a person for something that is natural to them.As i said, I AM NOT MY HAIR but the biggest loss to HBCU is that those intelligent enough to see this as racist will fight you onthis ‘non-issue’ or leave.Either way, HBCU will loose.

  3. nancy hill

    August 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Cut the hair. Get the job. There’s plenty of time later to grow the hair and be more Afrocentric.

    • Kim

      September 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

      If only it were this simple. It is not!

    • Becky

      September 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      There is no way on this earth we can stop being afrocentric. We are Black and everyone knows it. I am Black and I wear my hear in locs. I work at corporate. I usually wear my hair in a convervative bun or pulled back in a ponytail behind my back. Corporate American can smell our Blackness from a mile away and we cannot hide from that. No suit, no tie, nothing can hide that I am Black.

      Soooo, at work, I am beautiful, brilliant and yes… (everyone knows… Black). We should stop trying to tell our children to hide. Thats like trying to hide your entire body behind a cereal box. It just can’t be done.

  4. Derrick

    August 24, 2012 at 6:46 am

    It’s not about the ‘LOVE LOCKS’ nothing to ‘dread’ about wearing your hair like the Black Messiah (hair like wool), and Sampson (who had 7 seven love locks).

    I hope this writer was talking about all these negorid fe-males, who dye their hair, red, orange, blue and blond! I wouldn’t hire a negroid coming at my business looking like a clown, either! If they had LOVE LOCKS, I would hire them, if they had the qualifications I was looking for in them. However, the LOCKS must be neat and clean! CLEANSLINESS IS GODLINESS!!!

    If you want to work on the caucasoid’s plantation (job), then you must adhere to their work rules…plain & simple! If you want your OWN business, you still have to look presentable; not like you’re working for the circus.

    I told my son to get hiw OWN business, once he graduates. Why go to school for 5 years to work for somebody else? This is why you go to school…get the knowledge and wisdom to work for YOURSELVES!!! In today’s economy, caucasoids are NOT GOING TO HIRE OUR PEOPLE; not matter how many degrees they may have.


    • L W O

      August 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Amen, Derrick. From time to time I look at job listings online. I’ve seen several listings that say people with excessive tatoos and piercings need not apply. I don’t think they’re hinting at Blacks only. I definitely agree with you about the hair. Do what it takes to get the job. Once you are secure in your position then feel free to express yourself. Unfortunately, we are not encouraged to own and operate our own businesses. We are taught to go to school to get a job.

      • Derrick

        August 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

        I hear ya! We are brainwashed from kindergarten through college to work for somebody else!

        I was a part of the ‘corporate plantation’ back in the day, but that’s over!

        I told my soon, who will be graduating next May, to get a business of his own. He’s a computer science graduate and he has been on three interviews and still haven’t gotten hired.

        I told him to get some of his brothers, who have or will graduate with him and go into business for themselves. They can’t do like caucasoids, who’s rich parents know these hiring executives, who will only hire their own kind.

        We need to teach our children when they are young…don’t work for NOBODY, except yourselves.

        IT’S THE ONLY WAY!!!

    • Jah Larry Dread

      September 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      I agree. How about attaining the best education/credentials you can get. Upon the day of reckoning (graduation), cut your hair, clean shaven and donning the business suit to get the job. Don’t call it conforming…call it a disguise. While in disguise devise your plan; get the experience and contacts. Find other like-minded people of color…then leave the plantation. Start your own and support your own.
      Jah Larry Dread

  5. Jae Mac

    August 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I understand that corporate America may have a problem with cornrows and dreadlocks, and you may need to change your hairstyle as a condition for employment or during the job seeking process.That is something that should be explained to the students, it should not be a prerequisite for a class.

  6. Barbara

    August 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    You get it right most of the time Derrick and this time you hit the nail on the head. These “people in charge” don’t want to hire us for top level jobs nor do they want to hire us at the lowest levels. I was one of the first Black employment counselors in the Oakland and San Francisco Bay Area. The employers didn’t know that I was Black on the phone so they felt free to ask me to send over the “all American man or woman” or another code was ” just send me a “blue eyed blonde.” We need to learn as much as we can right now because we are being systematically excluded from the job market. The only place they really want us is in prison! So, I am saying fix your hair the way you have to now, and fix it the way you want when you are in business for youself. You will never be paid what you are worth working for the White man.

    • Derrick

      August 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      EXACTLY! You know the deal.

      Why do we continue to support these foreigners, when our own people SHOULD HAVE the same businesses? This is the only way to employ our children when they graduate from college. They must go into business for themselves…NO OTHER WAY!!!

      We have been TRAINED to work for somebody else, and this is what they brainwash our children to do from kindergarten through college! They NEVER tell us to work for self; it’s always; do the monkey for the honkey!

      IT’S TIME FOR OUR CHILDRN TO UNITE AND GO INTO BUSINESS WITH EACH OTHER, so they can train and teach somebody else to keep the business going.

      Why do these arabs keep their businesses open so long…because negroids continue to support them! Now, the mexicans, the people from india, the people from japan and china are making money off our dollars; while they send their money back to their foreign lands to help their own.


  7. Anthony Neal

    August 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I disagree. In business you have to carry yourself as a business man. Meaning you have to dress and groom yourself as a professional. Clean cut, shaven, slacks, shined shoes, pressed shirts. Its not conforming to an image its the uniform. When you see professional white boys wear their hair like jesus in a professional environment then say something but thats not the case. If you join the army you have to get a military cut and put on that soldier uniform and you want to work in corporate its the same thing. Its not about your indivduality its about making money. In regards to corporate america hiring blacks thats another issue in itself

    • Nedrea

      August 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Anthony I agree with you 100% because practice does make perfect.

    • Ran

      August 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      You haven’t been around a lot of white business/corporate employees, huh? Long hair on the men is not typically considered a problem like it was in the 60s. You can have long hair and wear a high priced suit and get the job done these days…when you’re white. Locs/braids/rows are synonymous with Black and corporate America doesn’t want any part of us and acceptance comes only when we’re shedding as much of us and being more like them as we can. There is no reliable evidence to suggest that wearing locs/braids/rows has anything to do with a person’s inability to do a job, which makes those who bar such styles prejudicial and probably not willing to hire Blacks no matter what our hair looks like.

    • Derrick

      August 25, 2012 at 9:04 am

      “…wear their hair like jesus..”


      Anyway, let’s not forget about the caucasoids, who are dressed for the occasion, but LOOK HOW THEY TREAT US when we walk inside their establishments?

      CLOTHES DON’T MAKE THE MAN…remember that! I would rather be waited on, by a brother or sister with LOCKS, and treated with respect versus being treated like I’m gonna steal something, buy well-dressed caucasoids.

      If I’m gonna spend my money WITH ANYBODY, I want to be treated with respect!

      Therefore; as long as the LOCKS are presentable, then it’s ON!

  8. Donna

    August 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    @ Derrick……AMEN, AMEN!

    • Derrick

      August 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Amen Ra! 🙂

  9. Dark Chocolate

    August 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Frankly, I don’t want anyone’s dreadlocks hanging Down into my food by a server in a “Subway” type restaurant. like someone said, you want to express yourself, start your own business. You will probably need a loan, and when the loan officer sees your dreadlocks, … Well …

    • Nedrea

      August 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Lol!!!!!! I agree with you 100%………..appearance does matter…if you look like you just finished playing in a jungle somewhere and you smell bad, I wouldn’t want them making my food either, if you look like you just rolled out of bed, then I would probably terminate the individual on the basis they are not fit for the job I need them to complete. Hair, Attire, Attitude, and even language (nix the accent if its present) are all apart of appearance.

  10. Blythe Dhia

    August 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    This is a sticky one because I do agree that appearance plays a major role in how people perceive one another. I would say that the hairstyle shouldn’t matter as much as the neatness/maintenance of the style. I’ve seen men with well groomed locs who look as professional as a clean shaven one. This hits home for me because I’ve had female friends, who work in corporate america, comment on my big, beautiful natural hair- saying they wish they could go natural, but it’s not professional enough for their work environments. But some of those ladies rock very raggedy and unattractive straight wigs and weaves, that i think look more ridiculous than the well-maintained curls that can grow naturally ever would. It also makes me wonder how their white counterparts really perceive them when it’s obvious that they have a big fake hair constantly hiding their real hair. And i can always throw my hair in a nice sleek bun.

  11. Joe L

    September 3, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Dereck, one might be in business for him self but you need all type of customers and there are those that require a professional appearance, you are not living in a black world only there are all type of people, you serve all type customers. I know a caterer that lambast white America but go to them for business they say black American can’t afford to buy their services ” No business is an island”.

  12. Chinee

    September 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

    What percentage of Hampton U Business School graduates sporting the “corporate image” have landed jobs in corporate America? I agree everyone should know how to dress for the interview and the job but it shouldn’t take 5 years in business school to learn that. They are business students. I’m sure they know how to brand themselves to get the results they want. Hampton U should show the students the jobs and they will rise to the occasion.

  13. Cree Seven

    September 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    The university’s business school ought to be able to produce a peer reviewed scientific study showing a significant difference in hire and promotion rates between black people with similar qualifications but different hairstyles. Then, leave it to the student to determine what to do with his/her hair.

  14. freeze

    September 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    If you go for an interview you should look your best. You should find out what the dress code for the job you are applying for and if you want the job follow the code other wise dress the way you would like to look and the job will go to someone else.
    The best way to eleminate those dress code is to go out and start your own business and you can do pretty much what you would like.

  15. byron lee

    September 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    FINALLY!!!! I love it! Now if only the school would ban grills, visible tattoos, and rap music (except Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Talib Kwali).


    • gee

      September 21, 2012 at 12:41 am


  16. gee

    September 21, 2012 at 12:39 am


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