Anti-blackness. Self-hatred. These are probably the kinder words I could use to describe the motives behind this being by far one of the most asinine court rulings I’ve ever read about in my life. On Friday July 31, 2020—
the eve of Emancipation Day, Jamaica’s Supreme Court ruled that a school was within its right to ban a five-year-old student from attending school unless her parents cut off her dreadlocks. According to Kensington Primary School which is located in a suburb of Kingston, the ban was for hygienic reasons (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/jamaica-dreadlocks-school-student/2020/07/31/2cf6db4c-cf4e-11ea-8c55-61e7fa5e82ab_story.html). There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that dreadlocks are less hygienic than any hairstyle. Anyone who does not wash their hair properly will have poor hygiene—regardless of how their hair is styled. At a time when Black people worldwide have been protesting police brutality and other forms of systemic racism, it’s so sad that there are still Black people in positions of power who still refuse to evolve.
For decades, we were taught of the importance of not allowing ourselves to be bullied nor harassed by others because of the colour of our skin, the texture of our hair, and other physical features. However, in this instance, there are those—who unfortunately hold positions of power—who still want to maintain and enforce rules and regulations that were not only created by colonists, but were specifically designed to maintain White dominance over the Black majority by pushing European standards on the population—in this case, beauty. In other words, centuries ago, a bunch of old, corroded, stiff-ass Brits imposed racist norms which Black people today have chosen to maintain.
The decision of Jamaica’s Supreme Court to uphold a ban on locked hairstyles is not only shameful, but discriminatory—as it not only perpetuates self-hatred among Black people living in Jamaica, but will also no doubt be used as an excuse by far-right conservatives and racists who hold positions of power in other countries in order to justify implementing rules and regulations which discriminate against Black people in the workplace, schools, and other institutions simply on account of their hair.
It’s bad enough that in 2020 we still need a #BlackLivesMatter movement in order to bring awareness to systemic racism against Black people. But it’s especially unfortunate that Black people who live in former European colonies are still being discriminated against by other Black people who still suffer from Slave Mentality.