Men and Natural Hair
Women aren't the only one's who face demons within and around their own ethnic identities. Society has deemed the norm and it affects and judges African-American men by their features as often as it does us.
"Ethnic features" are viewed by "American society"as a direct visual window to one's culture, a seemingly vastly different culture. Rather than appreciating the differences in other's and admiring their visually expressed connection to "themselves", much of society simply sees this as "Not American", different, weird, intimidating, etc.
A man with long dreadlocks, for example, perhaps even to strengthen the visuals we'll say he has rather dark skin, will face additional aspects to certain obstacles throughout his life. A job interview, for example, might be affected by "what's socially acceptable". The interviewer, who's normally sole concern is to evaluate the potential and qualifications of an applicant through a seemingly generic process, might have additional things to consider in his decision making, depending on the variables.
If this black man is being interviewed by a company that is predominantly caucasian with clients who are predominantly caucasian, the interviewer might feel compelled to consider the hypothetical discomfort level or stereotype awareness of his clients and/or coworkers, even if the interviewer is 100% free of prejudice himself.
Many black men are faced with the tough decisions when it comes to their hair. How do they express their culture yet fit into the corporate society? A black man with dreadlocks will indefinitely be treated differently from one who has a close crew cut. And what about the men with cornrows? Some may deem this inappropriate, but where do we draw the line between individual expressions and prejudices?
Why does black hair have the potent ability to determine whether you get a job or not? When will employers see that a person's ability to perform their job is not dependent on their identity. One thing is certain, many black men are losing out on opportunities to impact society because of base physical prejudices.
Although we are past the days of the civil rights movement, we still struggle to fit into the american ideal of who we should be rather than who we are.