The UK school system has a problem with Afro- textured Hair. All across the UK, there are children being pulled out of education because their hair is too big, or too colourful.
Black children all across the UK have been excluded for fades, braids, locs, coloured braids natural afros and more. In effect all hair styles used for the upkeeping and necessary protection of Afro hair has been penalised.
It is not difficult to find a black person who can speak on how their hair has affected their lives in both subtle and life changing ways. That’s why, I’m calling on the UK government to ban hair discrimination.
History of Black hair
Black hair has been an integral feature of black history. For centuries, the black communities around the world have created hairstyles that are uniquely their own.
Between the 19th and 20th centuries, over 11 million Africans left the continent due to the transatlantic slave trade and took many of their African customs with them. For example, specially- designed combs.
Slavery was abolished in most of the world in 1865. However, this caused many black people to feel pressured to fit in with mainstream white society and adjust their hair accordingly.
According to Aaryn Lynch, “Black people felt compelled to smoothen their hair and texture to fit in easier, and to move in society better and in camouflage almost”
Amend the equality act
According to the Equality Act (2010), the ‘protected characteristics’ covered by the act’s provisions for race included colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Hair is not mentioned anywhere in the 252- page document. Therefore, creating a grey area opened for discrimination.
This is why the Equality Act needs to be amended so that Afro textured hair is explicitly protected. This simple step can possibly have a real impact on the lives of black people.