Authoritarians and hair

red fro

This video is sad.

Some racial insensitivity here, as forcing young girls to have strong chemicals applied to their hair in order to conform to an arbitrary standard only makes sense for true authoritarians.

There are not a lot for alternatives for young minority girls with very curly hair. Look at her. These are not Bob Marley dreadlocks but carefully coifed attempts to control the hair, in a way that is not disruptive to anyone with half a brain.

Seems like the charter school people have less than half a brain.

When I was in school many years ago, one of the senior boys had red hair that was very tightly coiled. He hated having to cut it every couple of weeks to keep it manageable so he grew it out much like an afro. He had this 5-6 inch halo completely around his head. He kept it combed to keep out tangles and it was quite impressive.

Think of a young Art Garfunkel but with bright red hair. It looked a lot like the picture above.:

The school administration could not figure out what to do. Usually only the ‘bad’ students flouted authority like this. But, as I recall this was one of the better students. While afros were against the dress code, they were only seen on blacks. They did not initially know how to deal with a white guy who was wearing such a ‘fro. They tried saying his hair violated the code because it touched his ears and his collar. He could not come back to school until he had dealt with that.

The next day he showed up again, still with the ‘fro … and little tunnels carefully cut out so no hair touched his ears. It was trimmed in back, exactly like he had been told to do. The principal had to admit that the student had complied with their request. But the principle would not admit defeat. He fell back on the “It’s distracting” thing, told the boy he could not come back unless he cut his hair. No ifs, ands or buts.

He must comply with the arbitrary command of authority. Luckily for all of us, and unlucky for the administration, this boy was very smart, very adaptive and knew how to deal with arbitrary authority. He had the support of his parents and garnered the respect of his classmates by what happened next.

He came to school the next day bald! He got his haircut. In fact, he got them all cut.

They had no dress code restriction that covered this. Talk about really distracting. He now disrupted every class he was in. None of us had ever seen seen a bald guy without a wig before. What were they supposed to do now, as he had just complied with their request?

They just gave up. And let him graduate. But the rest of us had seen the limitation of arbitrary authority when dealing with an agile mind.

I expect something similar to happen here. It needs to.