This article is an analysis of a recent US court case involving dreadlocks, race, racial identity and identification, and hiring practices.  Another here.

In 2010 in Mobile AL, USA, Chastity Jones interviewed successfully for a position at Catastrophe Management Systems but ran into a snag at the end of the hiring process, being told she needed to cut or remove her dreadlocks.  The interviewer reportedly said, “they tend to get messy, although I’m not saying yours are, but you know what I’m talking about.”

Yeah, that’s not inflammatory at all.

On 15th September the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, while recognizing the validity of the historical arguments presented, ruled against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (who had sued on Ms Jones’ behalf) finding that dreadlocks are not an immutable part of a person, and thus not a racial characteristic.

According to the ruling (link below) courts have consistently rejected legal arguments for hairstyles as a racial characteristic.

So, there you have it folks.  Dreds aren’t legal exactly…but, then, they’re not illegal, either, are they?

Would we want them to be the subject of legal rulings, though?  Imagine – calipers to measure them (max thickness 1 inch) and maximum loc counts (no more than 75 per head!) and blood quantum papers and – ick.

Better, maybe, to let them stretch into the wilder borderlands.


full text of ruling here


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