Thursday, June 22, 2006

Six Flags Hairstyle Ban - Not a Good News Story!

Jonathan DeLeon, 17, was hired at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland, in March to wear the costumes of Sylvester and Daffy Duck. A few weeks later, he said he was told to cut his braids, which were at least 3 feet long. His mother cut more than 2 feet of his hair, park officials were dissatisfied and demanded that his hair be cut shorter.

The Associate Press (AP) reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is investigating complaints from more than a dozen black employees at a Six Flags theme park who were told their hairstyles were inappropriate.

plez sez: This takes me back to the early- to mid-1970's when the Afro was all the rage. We had hot combs and blowout kits (who can forget that vile smelling Vigaro) to help achieve maximum length of our naturally curly hair. Even though the girls would swoon over the guy with the largest Afro, many white employers, school administrators, and athletics coaches balked at our attempt at "self expression" with our hairstyles. Many a Black man missed out on a job opportunity, countless Black boys were suspended from school, and numerous guys opted out of playing basketball or football because they didn't want to cut their hair.

My parents put my three older brothers and I on a bus to visit my Aunt Beatrice down south for the summer when I was 8 years old. When we got off the Greyhound bus, she shrieked at how long our hair was. Our first stop (before even going to her house) was the barber shop, where all of our Afros were left on the cutting room floor. And so went our little Black Power Movement!

My point is... some things never change. As long as "we" are working for "them", we'll have to occasionally put up with their B.S.! When "we" are in a position of power (i.e. you know, the Golden Rule), then "we'll" be able to wear our Afros and dreadlocks and jheri curls to our hearts desire. Just as my Aunt Beatrice wasn't going to have four Afros running around her house all summer, it doesn't appear that Six Flags is going to stand for it either.

I wish the ACLU luck in their pursuit of "justice," but I don't see where they'll be able to get a judge to tell Six Flags to alter the way they want their "product" to look.

5 comments:

Roderick said...

plez: wish the ACLU luck in their pursuit of "justice," but I don't see where they'll be able to get a judge to tell Six Flags to alter the way they want their "product" to look.

Roderick: I think that this guy has a couple of good arguments on his side although I agree that he will probablly lose.

1) Did Six Flags make cutting his braids a condition of employment when they hired him or was it just an aftertought which seems like someone had a personal problem with his braids.

2) If he is wearing a costume I'm assuming his head will be covered. it's hard to argue that anyone will see his braids so I don't think that Six Flags has an arguemt there unless they are claiming that his braids are going to befoul the inside of the costume, cause it to age premeturely by more frequent than normal cleaning.

Since this incident occured in Md I think that there is a chance that the lower court will rule in favor of the plaintiff but it will be appealed to a higher court and as it is more consertive pro-corporate judges will likely overturn the ruling. I would like to see this case reach the Supreme Court but with the current composition of the Court and with Bush probably appointing one more and possibly two more to the Supreme Court I doubt this guy would ultimately prevail.

plez... said...

In response to Roderick's questions, I reply:
1) From other sources, it appears that this is a written policy. It also appears that at least 12 other African Americans who work at Six Flags are part of this suit.

2) Once again, it's a corporate policy. I don't know where you work, but I'm almost positive that they have a dress code; some clothes and hairstyles (probably 3-foot long braids/dreadlocks included) violate that policy. You always have the option of choosing to work elsewhere.

3) Supreme Court?!? Doubtful! Any judge worth his salt would toss this as specious and an invasion of Six Flags Parks privacy to conduct business to their benefit.

Roderick said...

plez:
In response to Roderick's questions, I reply:
1) From other sources, it appears that this is a written policy. It also appears that at least 12 other African Americans who work at Six Flags are part of this suit.

Roderick: Ok well then why did they hire him in the first place?If this guy had three foot-long braids when he cut them three weeks later then they had to have been fairly long when he was hired.

If twelve other people are suing then it's not an isolated incedent. I would like to hear the whole story before I decide on what exactly is happening.

the prisoner's wife said...

damn...his braids were 3 feet long. wow

KadidiaTerri said...

I surfed in when i googled my brother's nickname (Plez) and "fro". I had just been looking at a picture of me and my mom at my elementary school playground back in the early seventies - Mama fro and daughter fro. When I look at the picture it looks so strange (as do the clothes I was wearing). I think to myself, how could she let me out of the house like that! But, then I realise that it was the style at the time. There was nothing strange about it there and then. That was suburban New York (the school) and my mom had a civil servant management position in NY city at that time.

The other day I saw a fellow employee walk by my desk in cornrows. Mind you I'm working for a British company located in Malaysia now. The employee sporting that African style is a straight haired Malay.

As for me, I've still got what it takes to sport an Angela Davis size fro, but it's hidden under a scarf I wear for religious reasons.

Thank goodness my employer doesn't discriminate against me for my headscarf or her for her "stylish" cornrows.

But, I can't help wondering just what style they might one day find "inappropriate"....