Steps to hair equity
Author: Joshua Hernandez
Undergraduate intern for the B-RAD Lab at the University of Alabama
In “Learn How to Cut Black Hair or No Job for You, Louisiana Tells New Stylists" by Anya Zoledziowski, Anya discusses the new resolution passed by Louisiana’s Board of Cosmetology “that requires all licensing exams to include a section on cutting textured hair.” This resolution came after the Louisiana senate passed the crown act. This act prohibited businesses from discriminating against people for their hair texture and style. While it is a necessary starting point, Anya points out that this is only hair cutting and leaves out the different hair styling techniques that should also be required. One of the main backers of this resolution was Gadar. This hair artist has been working with hair since she was little and has even gone to business and cosmetology school to get her license in hair care. However, her experience, like so many other black and brown women in her field, was neglectful. She and many others did not get any education on black and brown hair, both in styling and cutting, which caused her to eventually open a two-day workshop where she would instruct women about textured hair. Anya also points out that Black and Brown women in the U.S. often spend almost nine times as much money on hair care products than that of white women.
After reading the article, I was shocked to learn about the negligible amount of experience that Black and brown cosmetologists were taught about cutting and styling their own hair. It really goes to show that so much of our society is centered around whiteness. This is a relevant article for our lab because as researchers who often work with different hair styles it is important for us to be cognizant of the different nuances behind the different hair textures. As of right now we are a majority white lab, so it becomes an even more significant role for us to understand and appreciate hair styles that our not our own. Many times, we as white researchers might be confused about where to start learning about our own biases and learning about the struggles and lived experiences of POC. This resolution is going to help immensely in allowing proper education to become known and allow for more textured hair to come into the forefront of our society and our research. Neuroscience research needs to be about inclusion, and it is quite hard to be inclusive when you have no idea how to work with textured hair or how it will work within technology. Hopefully, these problems will be addressed in the future, but for now this is an excellent first step towards equity (at least in Louisiana).
Zoledziowski, A. (2021, November 5). Learn how to cut black hair or no job for you, Louisiana tells New Stylists. VICE. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7dgwj/louisiana-board-requires-hairstylist-cut-textured-hair-license.
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