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Much Love Crystal Afro x
(Natural since Jan 2011) (Contact Me: crystalafro@hotmail.co.uk) View my complete profile

Monday, 30 May 2011

Boy Expelled for Wearing Cornrows

Earlier this month I caught the tailend of another debate regarding black hair. However this time it was slightly different as it was a male perspective...
 A young boy (who can't be named for legal-reasons) was sent home from his 1st day at school for wearing cornrows  - or as I've grown up calling them - cainrows (could just be a Brit-Caribbean thing, lol)
Straight away my ear for injustice poked up. This sounded like discrimination and totally unfair. But, as I heard more the situation became less black & white, and little more grey.
I understand that uniform policies should be respected, but at the same time, I can't see the problem with wearing cainrows to school. 

There are a few key points to bare in mind first:

  • The boy and his mother were late to the introductory talk for potential students and so missed the part where the school expressed their rules on hair styles.
  • The school suggests that links can be made between gang culture and cainrows.
  • Female pupils at the school are allowed to wear cainrows.
  • The school feels that if they allow styles such as cainrow, it'll be harder to ban other styles such as skinheads which is a popular style worn by white right-wing extremists.
 ...In the first instance I agree that uniform policies should be adhered to. Discipline is discipline regardless of race. HOWEVER I don't agree with the schools reasoning. Hair styles such as cainrows are not only common place in black culture, but are also uni-sex style. 


It's possible to keep strict but fair rules on appearance while allowing students to wear cainrow. As long as it's understood by everyone that there are limits and excessively flamboyant hairstyles will not be allowed.
maybe slightly over the top!

As much as I accept that many young boys who run around thinking they're gangsters do wear cainrows, I think its wrong of the school to try and draw links between a hairstyle that has been practiced for centuries as part of a culture and a few bad-breed individuals in the area.
Also I appreciate the comparisons between skin-head style on one hand but on the other hand it doesn't qualify, because it lacks the same cultural and historical depth.
 The other key thing that got me about the school's argument was the fact they allowed girls to wear cainrows. 
Because cainrows are unisex, I think this is quite a sexist rule that the school is trying to implement. It would seem based on their association of the style with either females or gangs that the school has a very warped view of cainrows. In my opinion if the school understood the nature of cainrows as a style, they'd recognise it as unisex, so if it's ok for the girls, it shouldn't be a problem for the boys.
As much as I can find points of understanding the schools argument, overall it smacks of ignorance and fear. The main focus for the school should be education and if a particular style doesn't effect the girls ability to learn, I can't see why it should effect the boys. I think if the school tried to learn a little more about the culture of the pupils attending, it would learn to appreciate cainrows as a respectable hair stlye for black boys and men instead of fearing them as some form representative style for criminals. Not all white men with low cut hair are racist - for example my boyfriend! Just as not all black boys with cainrows are thugs.
Ludacris - Even rappers can look respectable in cainrows

The boys mother has taken the case to court in an attempt to get the school to change this policy but we've yet to hear the final outcome.
 Click the link below for the report:

What's Your Opinion?