All over the United States of America, in this age and time, the black man is persecuted for his hair and natural African looks, and one is left to wonder if this will ever stop.
Dakari Davis, an African American police officer with the DART Police Department in Dallas, Texas, is angry and perplexed after being informed by a lieutenant that his braided hairstyle is “unprofessional,” resulting in him being reprimanded.
Davis, who joined the police force in 2019, says he couldn’t believe it when one of his colleagues assessed his ability to do his job solely on the basis of his appearance.
According to WFAA, a lieutenant “felt that male police officers wearing cornrows was unprofessional and contacted the Chief of Police and subsequently lodged a formal complaint against my hairstyle.”
In July 2019, Davis was told not to wear the hairstyle when in full uniform, according to records. However, when he wore the hairstyle again at a DART police officer awards ceremony in November 2019, an internal affairs inquiry was launched.
Davis explained, “I actually chose to cut my hair out of fear of retribution, I said, “You know what, I have a son, I need to provide for them, I’m just going to cut my hair,”
His “braided or cornrow hairstyle” was described as “unprofessional and unapproved” after the investigation. Five charges were filed against him, including insubordination for disobeying a supervisor’s direct order and violating the police department’s dress code policy.
Davis was subsequently put on administrative leave and received a letter of reprimand as well as a recommendation for termination. Davis, who had always wanted to protect and help others, admitted that he was unhappy at the time.
He eventually approached Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, who luckily backed him up. In September 2020, the letter of reprimand was revoked, and DART’s Chief Operating Officer, Carol Wise, sent a note to the Chief of Police. He was also returned to his full duty as a motorcycle cop, with no limitations.
DART has recently reviewed its beauty strategy, citing the fact that “times shift, people have different desires.”
“We understand that you want to be able to do your job, but you also want to be able to show a little bit of yourself and present yourself in a specific way,” Gordon Shattles, DART Director of External Relations, said.
While Davis is pleased that more people are talking about the problem, he believes it’s also necessary to understand the inherent prejudice in the workplace when it comes to hairstyles.
“What does it mean about you and how you see someone who does not wear this uniform if you know me and I wear this uniform and stand right beside you and you see me in that manner?” Davis was the one who inquired.
It is unrealistic to many of us to know that in this age and time, the black man’s hair still causes a great level of discomfort for white America. It’s about 200 years since slavery has been abolished in the USA, but it seems some of the tenets of slavery are being upheld to this day. And one of them is the type of hair a black person should wear and have.
All over the USA, Black people are denied jobs and certain privileges just because of their hair. And no matter how much we pass these off as “just another news”, it strongly points to a particular type of hatred for the freedom of black people to carry their hair in the culture of their people.