‘Time to Go’ – No Respect for our Hair

Go Lean Commentary

“You cannot beg people to love you, if you are successful, it will not be love that you get, it will be pity; being pitied is pathetic” – Wise counsel.

Who wants to be pitied? Not so welcoming, is it?!

This commentary asserts that when you are being pitied, when that is how people tolerate you, then it is time to go home – where people love you.

This is a hot issue for the topic of hair: Black Hair, for men and women.

The truth about Black Hair is both “art and science”. Science-wise, it is different than the hair of other cultures. All these other cultures, feature natural texture that is straight; but for ethnicities descending from an African heritage, their natural texture is coarse-curly; derisively called nappy, peasy or kinky. The encyclopedic definition relates …

“Because many black people have hair that is thick with tighter and smaller curls than people of other races, unique hair styles have developed. In addition to this, many Black Hair styles have historical connections to African cultures.”

That is the science; all the rest of this discussion is the “art”; the options and choices on Black Hair, that some perceive to force assimilation and devalue culture. This is a heavy issue.

This commentary is 2 of 3 from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean, in consideration of the reasons to consider repatriation back to the Caribbean homeland. The other commentaries detailed in this series are as follows:

  1.  Time to Go: Spot-on for Protest
  2.  Time to Go: No respect for our Hair
  3.  Time to Go: Logic of Senior Emigration

cu-blog-time-to-go-no-respect-for-our-hair-photo-4All of these commentaries relate to the Caribbean image and disposition as a region with a majority Black population. The Go Lean book asserts that our demographics is what it is. There is no need to excuse, hide or assimilate to any other cultural influence. No racial supremacy is advocated – for this race or any other race – in the book or by this movement. We have a beautiful diversity, period. Despite any ethnic differences, the region has the same needs, to optimize the economic, security and economic engines in the Caribbean homeland.

The Go Lean book and movement serves as a roadmap for the introduction of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). The CU is set to optimize Caribbean society through economic elevation, security empowerment and governing engagements. Therefore the Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book posits that investment and entrepreneurial opportunities can be created in the region, to the extent of creating 2.2 million new jobs. There will need to be an open, fair and level “playing field” for all these jobs. Assimilating to an alternate hairstyle, to placate some majority view will simply be irrelevant. Diversity will dominate in the business eco-system from the beginning; it will not have to be remediated or retrofitted.

This retrofit is challenging in the US right now. There have been legal challenges and court cases as to discrimination in the workplace regarding Black Hair styles. See a related news article here of a recent federal court ruling:

Title #1: Federal Court Rules It’s Legal Not to Hire Black Woman Applicant Because of Her Locs

Attractive Young Woman Sitting in a Park

Natural Black Hair styles are still seen as deviant and unprofessional in many settings,
and a recent court ruling might make it even harder to fight back against discrimination.

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that banning employees from wearing locs is not racial discrimination. In a 3-0 decision the Federal Appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Commission which argued that, “prohibition of dreadlocks in the workplace constitutes race discrimination because dreadlocks are a manner of wearing the hair that is physiologically and culturally associated with people of African descent.”

In 2010, Castastrophe Management Solutions, an insurance claims processing company in Mobile, Alabama offered Chastity Jones a job but told her that she would have to cut her locs before beginning work. When she refused, they withdrew the offer.

The HR managed claimed her locs violated the company’s grooming policy, which they say is race-neutral, and employees are required to keep their appearance “in a manner that projects a professional and businesslike image.” Jones was told locs “tend to get messy.”

Judge Adalberto Jordan expressed a hesitancy to expand the legal definition of racial discrimination via judicial action. He wrote in his opinion, “As far as we can tell, every court to have considered the issue has rejected the argument that Title VII protects hairstyles culturally associated with race,” he stated.”

Other related articles: http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2016/06/steve-perry-black-boys-hair-tweet/ posted June 15, 2016.
Summary: The notion that traditionally Black Hair styles are synonymous with being unsuccessful speaks directly to the pathologizing of blackness that this country is known to do — and our “leaders” are too often the ones elevated to do it.

So according to this foregoing news article, American companies do not have to remediate or retrofit to accept their diverse workforce; they are allowed to assimilate them, to force them to conform to a uniform vision that they conceive … or prefer.


The Borg: Strength is irrelevant. Resistance is futile. We wish to improve ourselves. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service ours. – Movie Quote: Star Trek – The Next Generation (TV Series).

When “they” force you into their mold, it is Time to Go.

The subject of Black Hair has been a frequent topic for this Go Lean movement. Previous submissions describes this topic as related to image and economics. Consider these summaries:

1. ‘Good Hair’ and the Strong Black Woman

Berlin, Erich Honecker empfängt Angela DavisBlack kinky hair is considered worthless in the global marketplace. But the market for mitigating, treating (chemicals) and covering the hair (wigs & extensions) is worth $9 Billion annually. This seems like such a dichotomy for the Black community, especially among women. This ethnic group prides itself on a proud heritage of Strong Black Women, and yet there is this unspoken rejection of natural Black Hair. This is sad!

The Go Lean book presents strategies, tactics and implementations to elevate the Caribbean’s image and the region’s economic, security and governing engines. The end-goal is so that our people do not feel “Less Than” in their home countries. But if our Diaspora are among those spending the $9 Billion to treat/cover their Black Hair, then truly it is time to consider going home, back to people that love us just the way we are, rather than putting on “false airs”.

The CU will serve as a sentinel for Caribbean “image”. The US is the military and economic Super Power in this hemisphere. Their consumerism dictates the trends in the Caribbean as well; this is the North-South pressure. But the Caribbean has been successful in forging style-taste-trends in a South-North manner. Just consider the life work of these Caribbean role models:

o  Sidney Poitier
o  Bob Marley
o  Oscar De La Renta

2. Caribbean Image: Dreadlocks

Bob MarleyDreadlocks are tied to Caribbean image; many view those with this headwear as inferior or “Less Than“. Many people in the Caribbean, though not a majority in the region, wear dreadlocks, despite their occupation. These “locs” can be an expression of deep religious or spiritual convictions, ethnic pride, a political statement, or  simply be a fashion preference. Yet, their wear can be detrimental in job placement and advancement. This was “spot-on” for the issue in the foregoing federal court ruling.

Other ethnic groups also groom their headwear in a way germane to their culture and/or religion – Sikh Indian turban, Jewish yarmulke, or an taqiyah – but their wear is not associated with a “less than” disposition. This is a matter of image. The Go Lean/CU roadmap seeks to optimize the Caribbean economy, culture and image.

The ruling from the US federal court in the foregoing news article is another indicator that it is “Time to Go“. Trying to force acceptance of Caribbean hair traditions may be likened to begging people to love us. We may only get pity.

But the alternative is not easy. This means fixing the broken systems of commerce and the societal defects in the Caribbean. The Go Lean book describes this effort as heavy-lifting. This will address the “push and pull” reasons why people leave the Caribbean in the first place. Once we can fix the defects, there will be no excuse for our people, the Diaspora, to remain in an environment where they are forced to assimilate to a look and style more comfortable for their white neighbors and co-workers.

There is no freedom in this dreaded scenario.

Fixing the Caribbean eco-system has always been a mission of the Go Lean/CU roadmap, to dissuade the propensity for so many Caribbean people who flee from their Caribbean homelands to foreign destinations like the US. In addition, there is a mission to invite many Diaspora members to repatriate. The book contends that the Caribbean must prepare for the eventual return of these native sons and daughter back to our shores. This point is pronounced early in the book with the Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 & 13) that claims:

xi.   Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii.  Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law.

xiii. Whereas the legacy of dissensions in many member-states … will require a concerted effort to integrate the exile community’s repatriation, the Federation must arrange for Reconciliation Commissions to satiate a demand for justice.

xx.  Whereas the results of our decades of migration created a vibrant Diaspora in foreign lands, the Federation must organize interactions with this population into structured markets. Thus allowing foreign consumption of domestic products, services and media, which is a positive trade impact. These economic activities must not be exploited by others’ profiteering but rather harnessed by Federation resources for efficient repatriations.

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group.

Fixing the Caribbean defects do not only prepare the region for the return of the Diaspora, it also elevates the region to just simply be a better place to live, work and play. There truly is the need. Our region is not so settled on the issue of Black Hair. We still mandate a “white assimilation” on our people. Consider the story here in the following news article:

Title #2: Prep School in Jamaica Refuses Entry to Boy Because of His Hairstyle


According to a story in the Jamaica Observer, Hopefield Preparatory School in St Andrew has refused entry to Zavier Assam, 3, because of the way his hair is groomed.

Zavier was registered at the school, but his mother Dr. Penelope Amritt, reported that the vice-principal there decided not to admit her son for classes because she refused to cut his hair. The Observer contacted the school about the matter but received no comment. Dr. Amritt said that she submitted an application in June 2016 for her three children to attend Hopefield and included a photo of the three-year-old boy. She was then told by the vice-principal that Zavier could not come to school unless his hair was cut. After thinking about it over the summer, Dr. Amritt decided that she should not be forced into something she didn’t want to do and felt that the school was discriminating against Zavier because of his gender. She said that her five-year-old daughter Zina and her son Zavier have almost the exact, same hair length, which is just below their ears.

According the Dr. Amritt, when the vice-principal saw Zavier she said that she wanted the boy’s hair cut because it was “untidy and dirty,” a description Dr. Amritt strongly denies. The vice-principal also said that Zina’s hair should be tied back. Dr. Amritt challenged the vice-principal about requiring boys to have short hair and was given a lecture about head lice in school. When she brought Zavier for orientation, she was confronted again about the length of his hair and said it was her right to choose how her child’s hair is groomed.

Discussions between Dr. Amritt and the vice-principal have grown increasingly contentious, and ultimately, the vice-principal returned the check she had written to the school for her son’s entry and said she would not admit Zavier regardless of whether his hair is cut or not. Zavier must remain at Fundaciones, his old school, and his mother is unsure if she will pursue legal action on the basis of discrimination. Additionally, Dr. Amritt noted that Zina is having problems with the other children because of her “puffy hair” and that she no longer wants the afro style she has had her whole life because no one will play with her with her hair like that. Dr. Amritt believes the vice-principal is treating her children differently than the Caucasian children at the school.

In response to those who wonder why she would want to send her children to a school with such attitudes, Dr. Amritt said “discrimination is wrong and someone has to stand up and talk about it.”
Posted September 6, 2016; retrieved September 26, 2016 from: http://jamaicans.com/prep-school-in-jamaica-refuses-entry-to-boy-because-of-his-hairstyle/

What are the motives of the school policies in this foregoing article? Perhaps to prepare the students for work and life abroad in the Diaspora. This is not the direction of the Go Lean roadmap: we want/need our citizens to be themselves, to be home, just the way they are:

Long hair? Short hair? Straighten/treated hair? Nappy/Kinky hair?

Its all good! See VIDEO in the Appendix below. These should all be promoted for the Caribbean image.

The art-and-science of image management is among the community ethos, strategy, implementations and advocacies the CU must master to elevate the Caribbean community. These individual roles-and-responsibilities are detailed in the book; see this sample listing here:

Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact Turn-Arounds Page 33
Community Ethos – Ways to Manage Reconciliations Page 34
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Caribbean Core Competence Page 58
Tactical – Forging an $800 Billion Economy – Good leverage for Trade and Globalization Page 70
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Tourism and Film Promotion Page 78
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Communications and Media Page 79
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Truth & Reconciliation Commissions Page 90
Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media – Managing Image Online Page 111
Implementation – Trade Mission Objectives – World Outreach for Repatriation Dialogue Page 116
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization – Exporting Media Productions Page 119
Anatomy of Advocacies – Models of Individuals Making an Impact to their Community Page 122
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Image Page 133
Advocacy – Improve Failed-State Indices – Assuaging the Negatives Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Leadership Page 171
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Communications Page 186
Advocacy – Ways to Enhance Tourism – Creating a Demand, Not Dread of Caribbean Culture Page 190
Advocacy – Ways to Market Southern California – A Critical Market for Image Page 194
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood Page 203
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Ways to Protect Human Rights – Weeding-out Prejudices Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Arts – Humanities Affect the Heart Page 230

This subject of image management has been frequently blogged on in other Go Lean commentaries; as sampled here with these entries relating American “push and pull” factors:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9038 Caribbean Charity Management: Not Viewed as Grown Up
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=9017 Improve Global Image: Proclaim August 1st as the ‘International Caribbean Day’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8431 Bahamas Issued US Travel Advisory Citing Police Violence
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8099 Caribbean Image: ‘Less Than’?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=7221 Street naming for Martin Luther King unveils the real America
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5527 American Defects: Racism – Is It Over?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5333 Racial Legacies: Cause and Effect
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2025 Caribbean Jobs – Attitudes & Images of the Diaspora

Underlying to the Go Lean/CU prime directive of elevating the economics, security and governing engines of the Caribbean, is the desire to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play.

When we succeed on the vision and missions of this roadmap, we must manage the image and communicate to the world, our elevated disposition. The book details how this is to be pursued. See the quotation here from the Go Lean book (Page 133):

Lean in for the Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME) Initiative: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU).
This will allow for the unification of the region into one market of 42 million people across 30 member-states, with a GDP of $800 Billion (according to 2010 figures). In addition, the treaty calls for collective bargaining with foreign countries and industry representatives for causes of significance to the Caribbean community. There are many times when the media portray a “negative” depiction of Caribbean life, culture and people. The CU will have the scale to effectuate negotiations to better manage the region’s image, and the means by which to enforce the tenets.

This is all part-and-parcel of the underlying Go Lean community ethos: Greater Good for all peoples, all hairstyles. Equal opportunity, equal employment and equal empowerment.

Black-and-Brown hairstyles? Yes, indeed!

All Caribbean stakeholders are hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean/CU roadmap to elevate the Caribbean; to make our homeland a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – 30 Beautiful Black Hairstyles for Natural Hair 2016 – https://youtu.be/wBSL71dU-OE

Published on Oct 29, 2015 – 30 Beautiful Black Hairstyles for Natural Hair 2016


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