December 12, 2007|By Tania Padgett, Tribune Newspapers: Newsday
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Despite warnings from her ancestors that an indigenous crew ability aching her career, Melissa Theodore of Huntington, N.Y., an accountant at Ernst & Young, wears her beard in long, attenuate braids with bittersweet highlights that avalanche accomplished her shoulders.
But Theodore, who has formed at the aggregation for two years, doesn’t accept that. “My beard has never been a botheration as far as my career goes,” Theodore said. “It’s accurate and actual professional.”
Black beard has historically been a arguable affair — abnormally back beat in its accustomed accompaniment in styles such as afros, braids, cornrows and dreadlocks. Glamour annual is still aggravating to put to bed an animal amount that erupted bristles months ago back a above staffer fabricated racially aloof comments about the account of atramentous women’s hairstyles in the workplace.
The annual afresh hosted “Women, Chase & Beauty,” a console that explored the ability of beauty, with an accent on indigenous hairstyles in accumulated America.
“It was important to accessible up a chat on claimed issues accompanying to women, chase and beauty,” said Samantha Rosenberg, a Glamour spokeswoman. “We capital to do commodity about” the incident.
The adventure that Rosenberg is talking about involves Ashley Baker, a white above accessory editor at Glamour, who affected off a firestorm of altercation aftermost summer back she told a roomful of changeable attorneys at the law close Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton that afro-styled hairdos and dreadlocks are Glamour “don’t’s.”
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“‘No offense,’ she sniffed, but those ‘political hairstyles absolutely accept to go,'” appear American Lawyer magazine, which aboriginal bankrupt the story.
Glamour accustomed hundreds of belletrist from affronted readers, Rosenberg said. Editor Cindy Leive acquaint an acknowledgment on the magazine’s Web site. Baker larboard anon after.
Still, the acrimony over her comments connected to foment, bidding Glamour to accumulate the panel. The accident was not accessible to the public, but the annual will address about it for an accessible issue, Rosenberg says.
Baker, who has been lambasted as a racist, beneath to animadversion for this article, but she did accelerate Newsday an e-mail, which said: “The alleged facts in this adventure accept been biased and sensationalized back the onset, and the media has already vilified me for opinions I do not accept and statements I did not make.”
Stripped of its alarming delivery, was Baker’s ascertainment wrong?
“Black beard is sensitive,” said Anna Holmes, the managing editor of Jezebel, a celebrity, sex and appearance blog for women. “What Baker said was inappropriate, but was she inaccurate? No. She hit a nerve. … association is afflictive with indigenous hair, and it is afflictive about race. And it’s boxy talking about all of it because affect gets in the way.”
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An association that accustomed beard is unacceptable, amateurish and alike animal continues to affect society.
Over the years, lawsuits accept been filed adjoin companies for acute adjoin atramentous advisers for their indigenous hairstyles. Accumulated angel experts, both atramentous and white, cautiously admonish atramentous women to abolish their braids, dreadlocks and added indigenous crew afore interviews, experts say. A browse of above atramentous magazines, amid them Ebony, Essence and Atramentous Enterprise, shows that admitting beginning pride in indigenous hairstyles, abounding atramentous women still chemically align their hair.
Newsday batten to a advanced arrangement of bodies on the subject, including stylists, career experts, authors, journalists and a scattering of baronial atramentous women admiral in capricious fields. The responses were about as aberrant as the hairstyles that atramentous women wear.
A white accumulated angel able said indigenous beard in accumulated America is a minefield, and again promptly beneath to comment. An African-American controlling at a acclaimed non-profit, who asked not to be identified, said a adventure on the accountable was “irrelevant.”
“Nobody is activity to allocution to you about this subject,” said addition baronial atramentous woman.
Almost true. Calls to abounding were not returned. The calls that were brought acceptable and bad news: Added accumulated environments are accepting indigenous hairdos, but others agilely attention them as “unprofessional.”
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As connected as “hair is accurate and put together, there is no accustomed beard arrangement that is inappropriate for accumulated America,” said Jill Herzig, controlling editor at Glamour. In fact, “it is added important to appearance your claimed appearance no amount area you work.”
Natural hairstyles are acceptable added mainstream, said Donna Wallace, a 52-year-old biologic sales adumbrative from Westbury, N.Y. “But there is still the delusion that beeline beard is beautiful.” Two years ago, Wallace got annoyed of straightening her beard and absitively to get a braided style.
Her hairdresser, Beverly Joyner, gave Wallace a braided bore bun, which was affected but understated. “Corporate America is still bourgeois and demands a assertive look,” Joyner said.
Wallace wears her beard straightened now, but she said she would acknowledgment to a braided appearance because she knows it’s professional.
Concerns about indigenous hairstyles aren’t abandoned to white-owned firms. Carl Dameron, an African-American who owns a accessible relations and announcement close in San Bernardino, Calif., said that he has told his atramentous changeable advisers that alfresco of short-cropped afros, best indigenous hairstyles are a “no-no” in his office.
Hairstyles that abstract are not advised professional, Dameron said. “White guys can’t abrasion mohawks, women can’t abrasion dreadlocks like Whoopi Goldberg.”
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