So by now, you may have heard of Hampton University’s MBA Program’s ban on cornrows and locks, a controversial ban that got national attention this past week even though it has actually been in place since 2001.
So, male students in Hampton’s MBA program are not allowed to wear cornrows or locks to class.
Yep… Hampton University has an MBA Lock-Out.
The dean of the business school, Sid Credle, believes this policy has been very helpful in placing students in corporate jobs, citing an almost perfect job placement rate of 99%.
Obviously, many students and others look at it differently and some have spoken out publicly against the ban, which they feel stifles their freedom of expression.
On one side, Dean Credle wants his students to succeed professionally and he’s trying to minimize any chances that corporations will not hire the talented young African American business students Hampton produces.
He’s saying students should ‘dress the part’ on the road to success … I certainly don’t doubt Dean Credle is looking out for what he believes are the best interests of his students and his schoo.
But on the other side, we have to be careful what type of messages we’re sending these students and black youth in general when we tell them it’s a good thing to conform to majority cultural norms in a country that has forced us to conform for more than 400 years because if every one of us had conformed, we would likely still be in chains.
Not to mention it is certainly not true, as Credle argued, that braids and locks are not part of African American history because Charles Drew, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King didn’t wear them.
C’mon now, Dean… With all due respect you undermine your argument when you put unnecessary statements out there like that.
Braids and locks are natural cultural expressions of African, Afro-Caribbean and African American life and we should celebrate them!
Whether a student wears braids in school is not really the point… If they decide to wear them to an interview where an employer may not hire the student, well…. that’s the student’s decision…
Let’s remember that an important part of life for students is decision-making and lessons learned… I would think the university certainly has an obligation to make students aware of the implications and possible consequences of their choices and actions.
Yes, prepare them for the often unfair realities they will face but, ultimately, these young adults should decide and learn for themselves.
But I could be wrong so let’s hear from you… Text us at 64-64-64 to weigh in on: Should an historically black college ban its students from wearing hairstyles IN CLASS that it believes may limit their success in corporate America?
I’ll close with these words that remind us of the downside of a society in which conformity becomes the norm:
“You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.”