A couple more reader comments about our post about dreadlocks and mutable characteristics.  Put another way:  can forbidding dreadlocks in the workplace when it is not worn as a matter of religious belief still run afoul of Title VII as race related?

12974744_sShana Goodman, an HR administrator in the Atlanta Area:

“I think it would be remiss to think that hairstyles and race are not somewhat intertwined. Can other races “lock” their hair?   Yes!   But is it commonplace amongst a particular group?   Definitely!

I believe in order to enforce such specificity in grooming, there should be solid business reasons behind it. There could very well be solid reasons behind this particular regulation. Otherwise you are opening the door for discrimination lawsuits.  Proper and reasonable grooming is what an employer should expect, and it comes in all kinds of packages.  If it’s just a status quo issue, then that’s a problem. When you are competing globally, you have to think globally … and not everyone on the globe looks alike nor should they.”

Loretta N. Green-Williams, a businesswoman from the SF area:

“Hair is a component of imagery production that allows for distinction separation and self-expression.  Such rejection, however, is as old as America itself that was constructed from binary opposition (see bell hooks).   And, it is as institutionalized as the creation of its foundation. This means that the well runs deep.

I wore locks for over 15 years, and even with levels of accepted intellectualism, l was still marginalized. What does this mean to persons of ancestral hair that doesn’t match the dominant? It means we of darker hue, and those who wear it for political or social awareness, are given limited frameworks of identity production.  It means that l cannot honor my mother and father with as a self-selected self.  It means that the clock moves backwards when I, the darker hue, worked so hard to imitate a fashion that exclusionary practices assure my lack of presence.  In means it hurts me because my expression of self is rejected.

It means that again, l go through the same ole same ole …. my poco thoughts.”