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Dreadlocks in the Workplace

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Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:
Do you think dreadlocks should be accepted in corporate America?


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3 Comments

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely not ! as an African American who was born and raised in a low income housing community in Mobile Alabama where differences was defined by social economical factors such as what type of clothing you wore, where you lived, dressed, and what type of car you drove. Back then there wasn’t a lot of weight placed on education or legal employment that would have defined us in a more positive light. It was only when I graduated from college that it began to set in that if I really wanted a good job, it had to be something about me that would set me apart from the negative stereotype that dreads locks and tattoos presents. My mother and father always told me that absolutely nothing beats a clean-cut, well groomed man and quit frankly, dreads do not look neat, clean, or professional. A Clean-cut Individual can survive almost any negative stereotype placed on us in the work place and it’s the most durable, internationally time tested look in the world. She also said if I wanted to reach the top, dress and carry myself like the person whose job I wanted to have one day. In other words, if the boss wasn’t kicking it with an Afro or Dreads it might be a good idea for me as well. Finally, The Top CEO OF AMERICA a well groomed black man understood this more perfectly growing up; that why he is The President, Commander and Chief of the greatest nation in the world. I say no to dreads !
    Tha

  • Anonymous

    I am saddened by the fact that any person especially one of ethnic origin would say that it is acceptable to be judged based on your hairstyle. As long as hair is properly groomed, professional and neat there is no reason why it should be unacceptable. We all know that racism exists however, that doesn’t mean that we should comply to what someone thinks is what we should be doing. If our ancestors had these attitudes towards our natural GOD given features our identities would be completely lost. I am thankful for the individuals who embrace their ethnicity and dispell the stereotypes that exist in reference to hair. I am absolutely sure that there are (as the guest put it clean cut and well groomed individuals) without dreadlocks or tattoos who are dishonest and for the record why would I want to kick it with someone who is judging a book by the cover!

    • I agree wholeheartedly with your reply. I am an older woman trying to find work now since I was laid off. I started growing dreadlocks over a year and a half ago. They are shoulder length now. I am of a mindset that if I wear my hair a certain way, if I dress a certain way, it has to be neat and pleasing to the eye. With that said, I have seen many many suit wearing guys wearing dreadlocks that were well-kept, did not look dirty or matted and I just feel it did not take anything away from them. We should not be told how to wear our hair but keeping that in mind, if we are working in corporate america, keep it neat and well groomed. I have extremely good skills and have passed all tests with flying colors yet I have not landed a job yet. I know I am also dealing with the age issues, but wearing my hair in locks I think is also a deterrent for some employers. Nevertheless, I do not intend to cut my hair. I will just continue to look. There is someone out there who will see that I can get the job done and that is when I will GET THE JOB! I now live in Charlotte and even though there appear to be more dreadlocks worn here than in New York where I am from, I do not believe they are as accepting of them.

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