Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is this Hair Racism??

See post below for details in case you missed the originating post. Here are a couple of my responses to comments:

Kiki, I checked the handbook after you suggested it. It has stuff about keeping fingernails short, but nothing about hair or hair accessorizing.

In response to your lovely long comment (thank you you obviously thought a lot about it) I, too, would be thrilled if someone DID C's hair nicely. In this case though, I did her hair, and someone UNDID it. Without asking. I do think it's slightly racist, maybe not purposefully, but lordy if black kids have to go through this everywhere they go to school, it does seem mighty exclusionary. Also, everyone KNEW she was a white teacher and I never mentioned her color. They just knew a black teacher wouldn't dare undo C's hair which takes a lot of work to do.

But Kik, imagine if you spent an hour on Ola's hair, and did intricate braids, and then when you picked her up, they were all undone.... How would you feel? Then add in that the teacher's a different race, the majority race...

I did ask the director about the little rubber bands and she said they were fine.

Michelle, I did not talk to the teacher this morning because there were other people in the room and I didn't quite know how to approach it... I had imagined she would be alone like usual, not with some other parents in there. That threw me for a loop and I chickened out. Maybe tomorrow. I need to get my momma bear hackles up and protect my baby, or at least inquire politely about WHY she took them out.

I was thinking today, maybe she took them out and the teacher who sometimes does C's hair was going to put in the better kind of elastics that that don't break as easily, but ran out of time? That would have been fine with me. It just didn't feel like that was the case though....( because of the main teacher's attitude the day before about having to pick up pieces of elastic.)

So far, I have been lucky. Even though I live in "the South", I have not experienced any overt racism towards C. Not that I noticed anyway. I hate to think this was our first experience of it, because I was so proud of our little city. But I suppose *they* are everywhere, North, South, East and West. And *they* are ugly everywhere.

Camil2, I have given two of the African American teachers permission to do C's hair. They do a great job, but they only do her hair when I have left it in an Afro. They have never UNDONE something I did (even if I did a poor job). They just plain know better. This DID remind me of the teacher who cut off that girl's braid, although this is NOWHERE NEAR as bad as that. If she had done that, I would have been calling the news stations.

One of my regular readers, who was in ET with me picking up her son, wrote me an email (which I didn't ask permission to post) but basically the first sentence was that this teacher is racist and the reader obviously felt very strongly about it. That was her first reaction reading what happened.

Thanks for all the input. I'm glad I wasn't off base to be irked by this. For a second there, I second guessed myself and thought I was irritated by my work day (which I was) and that I was over blowing the hair thing. Your comments let me know I was on track to feel angry and offended. And I did originally write that she was a white teacher, and then decided I should erase that, as possibly offensive on my part, like I would be starting something by hinting at racism. But since all the commentators knew she was white anyway, I do think that proves if not racism, at the LEAST a cultural ignorance.

7 comments:

Dana said...

You are definitely not off-base. However, I would advise that you address this sooner than later with the teacher. I don't think she would have tried this with a black mother. I can't even imagine what my mother would have done or said if that had happened to one of her children and the schools we attended we were usually maybe 2 in the room (and that's because I had a twin).

Unfortunately you are defintely going to have more these issues in the future with a child of color so you might as well firm up that back-bone. In my opinion she wrong wrong on the beads but the rubberband thing is just going to far. I'd like to think she was gentle when she was removing the rubberbands from her hair.

Nobody said...

yep, as i was reading the previous post, i pictured a white woman as the teacher... and if the title is a question, then i would say YES, it probably is. maybe she isn't being a racist intentionally, maybe she's just a grouchy bitch, but that doesn't excuse taking out the elastics like that. i'd be pissed too. get your mama bear hackles up, and talk to the teacher. then blog about it, because we all want to know how it goes. ;) GOOD LUCK!

TowardstheHorizon said...

I couldn't help but picture this woman with a smirk on her face as she took Charlie's hair down. I also imagined her as a white women who may be trying to give you a hard time. There's no ligitimate excuse for this at all.

I hope you have the opportunity to talk with the director about her. She needs to know what's going on. This lady needs reprimanded.

Anjolcake said...

This was definately racism. This teacher has a definite problem. She needs to reprimanded by the director because she was totally out of line.She has no right to mess with any child's hair! And would she have done the same thing if I (a black woman) were Charlie's mom?

Calmil2 said...

It just dawned on me....could Charlie have pulled them out?? Or another child?? I think you better talk to her ASAP to see what happened so that I can either bite my tongue or be even more pissed! Let us know.

Michelle said...

I am usually really really slow to say racism. I tend to think we get too sensitive and see bad where there isn't any..or ugliness when it's really ignorance. But even I totally knew the teacher was white and my knee jerk reaction was that it was a racist attitude that allowed her to remove those bands.

Kiki said...

Check out the NC childcare rules/laws
http://nrc.uchsc.edu/STATES/NC/nc_9.pdf
pg, 25, letter N (pasted below)
(n) Plastic bags, toys, and toy parts small enough to be swallowed, and materials that can be easily torn apart such as foam rubber and styrofoam, shall not be accessible to children under
three years of age, except that styrofoam plates and larger pieces of foam rubber may be used for
supervised art activities and styrofoam plates may be used for food service. Latex and rubber
balloons shall not be accessible to children under five years of age.

I think even though it doesn't specifically say hair bands it might be lumped into this category, i.e. anything small enough to be swallowed.

Anyway, I'm dying to know why she did it so I hope you get a chance to ask her today. Do you have the option of chosing a different teacher if you don't like this one?