Culture

Is Hampton University Wrong for Banning Braids, Cornrows and Dreadlocks on Males?

Sat., Aug. 25, 2012 11:50 AM EDT
by Terry Shropshire

You will not be able to matriculate through Hampton University’s MBA business program with bad grades, bad behavior or bad hair.

Wait a minute: did you just write ‘bad hair?!? Yes, as in dreadlocks, cornrows and braids

Yes, as far as the dean of Hampton’s business school, Sid Credle, is concerned, all males who wish to enter the business school, will either ditch the long locks or ditch the idea of getting to their business major altogether.

And Credle is not the least bit concerned about what you think about it either. There is a ‘method to the madness’ of what the graduate school has implemented since 2001.

“We’ve been very successful. We’ve placed more than 99 percent of the students who have graduated from this school, this program.” A spokesperson told ABC affiliate 13WVEC TV News, “These students choose to be in this program and aspire to be leaders in the business world.  We model these students after the top African-Americans in the business world.”

In their minds, including Credle’s specifically, those clocking major figures and making the big decisions in the corporate world are not touting locs down their backs or Allen Iverson-esque braids in funky designs. Instead, they’re clean cut and have an even cleaner image.

“What we do is pay tribute to that image and say those are your role models. This is a way you will look when you become president. If you’re going to play baseball, you wear baseball uniforms. If you’re going to play tennis, your wear tennis uniform.  Well you’re playing that business.”

It’s hard to argue with the numbers. Ninety-nine hire rate helps him justify his stance. Still does this policy interfere with young people’s rights to freedom of expression? Is there a precedent for this and are there comparable restrictions placed on other cultures?

Credle scoff at critics who decry his policy as impeding on the cultural aspects of style. Actually he said cornrows and dreadlocks have not been a historically professional look. Ever.

“I said when was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history?” Credle said rhetorically. ”I mean Charles Drew didn’t wear. Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it. Martin Luther King didn’t wear it.”

 

 

 

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