It’s 2017 and Black women are still being told what’s appropriate when it comes to their hair.
The further away we are moved from the Eurocentric standard of beauty, the harder we are chastised — a bold and proud afro usually makes things worse. Jenesis Johnson, 17, knows this all too well, after recently getting in trouble at school because of her hair. According to WCTC, a teacher reportedly confronted the North Florida Christian student in front of the entire class, asking, “How long are you rocking that hairstyle?”
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Jenesis has been wearing her natural afro on and off since the seventh grade. However, the teacher’s question prompted students to ask more questions about her hair routine. A couple of days later, Jenesis was called into the assistant principal’s office, where what she had been suspecting all along had been confirmed. She was told, “your hair is extreme and faddish and out of control. It’s all over the place,” The eleventh grade Tallahassee student said of the incident, “It hurts me. It’s hurting me. For my people behind me, the younger ones, they’re going to have hair like me. Why can’t they wear their natural hair?”
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Jenesis was told that she broke the rules of her private school with her hair. Her mother is livid about the incident, saying, “You might say that it didn’t fit the handbook. But I saw, and what she heard, is a woman telling her that she’s not pretty; her hair does fit society. I wanted to counteract what was told to her and let her know that, you are so beautiful. Your hair is also.”
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Page 42 of the North Florida Christian School’s handbook it states, “No faddish or extreme hairstyles, and hair should be neat and clean at all times. The administration will make the decision on any questionable styles.” Since Jenesis refuses to change her hair, she was told that she could finish out her last week of the year but was not allowed back.
The school will refund the Johnson family their money.