Black natural hair in the workplace is very professional

Natural hair should not be used to deny employment opportunities

Mark Odecho
4 min readJul 26, 2020


Black natural hair in the workplace
Natural hair in the workplace

Hair is something that defines our identities. It is so important to us that we closely associate it with our confidence and self-esteem. We look in the mirror every day before stepping out, just to make sure our hair looks perfect. We spend a good amount of our hard earned money in maintaining our hair because it’s essential to our image.

But have you ever stopped to wonder why sometimes you can’t rock your natural hair to work? Why you would be considered “unprofessional” because of the natural state of your hair? Why a child can be sent home from school because of their locs or braids? Well, the simple answer to those pertinent questions is, institutional or systemic racism.

In a nutshell, institutional racism is where certain practices and policies are enforced by bodies or institutions in order to disenfranchise particular racial or ethnic groups. Such practices are known to act as barriers in career advancements and in seeking employment opportunities.

Did you know that since 2019, only 6 states in the United States passed laws decriminalizing natural hair? Prior to that wearing your hair in its natural form would be wrong to say the least. Being yourself could simply get you in trouble.

Wearing your natural hair could mean you only get to the employer’s door, but not in the office. Embracing your natural and splendid crown could deny you opportunities. Interesting enough, that still happens in most states and countries around the world.

natural hair in the workplace
Black hairstyles are professional

Through all this, however, what I fail to understand about hair discrimination is, how do you measure professionalism based on hair? How do you discern that someone is qualified based on hair texture, rather than their resume? How do these 2 aspects correlate?

How does that same person, all of a sudden, become qualified once they relax their hair? How come only Afro hair in its natural state, is unprofessional and not any other kind of hair? How does a student…



Mark Odecho

A writer with a passion for stories on people of African Descent.