The Reality of Employment Discrimination: “Say No to the Fro?” Writer Responds

4.30.2014

By Kathleen Smith

I am an African American woman and the writer of this story. The story was written to open eyes to the difficulties which are still present for African American women joining the corporate workforce. I hoped there would not be bias and discrimination in the workplace, but after much research found that it still exists by some employers. The story is not to influence African American women to change their style or cultural attributes. Every woman, of every color, should embrace their own individuality, style and uniqueness. This is the power of our femininity. We must represent.

My example of Lupita Nyong’o shows this power. She is currently gracing the cover of People Magazine as its Most Beautiful Person for 2014. She has a short fro and is very successful, but she is in the entertainment industry.  It is often more difficult for African American men and women with Afrocentric hair to find jobs. It depends on the occupation. This was showcased by the man who was denied employment by Sprint for an IT position. He was eventually hired after cutting his dreads.

Please take this article as food for thought as you enter the workforce yourself.  Encourage others to look past people’s outward appearance and features such as hair, piercings or tattoos. We should instead look at each applicant’s knowledge, experience and competency.

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