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Letters Last Updated: Aug 24th, 2012 - 18:55:50

Our Hair is Unprofessional?
By MarKeese Warner--Bladensburg, Maryland
Jun 12, 2012, 15:04

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MarKeese Warner was told by Six Flags that her locks are "unprofessional."
Like many students across the country, I have been looking for a summer job before I start my senior year at Pennsylvania State University where Iím studying engineering. As Iím living at home in Maryland for the summer, I thought working at the nearby Six Flags would be a great summer job. Iíve been going to Six Flags with my family for years and have even had season passes on occasion, so I applied for a food service job. However, as I started to go through the interview process, I was disturbed to find out that I couldnít work at Six Flags because of the texture of my hair. Six Flags has a strict policy that prohibits employees from having dreadlocks (or "locks" as some people call them) as they classify them as an ďextremeĒ hairstyle along with mohawks and unnatural coloring.

Locks are predominantly worn by African-American, Caribbean and African people as an expression of how our hair grows naturally. My hair is important to me and part of who I am. Iíve had locks for about five years. Being disqualified as a potential employee because of my hair made me feel defeated; as my hair is representation of my personal growth through the years. It hurts to hear major employers like Six Flags call my natural hair and texture ďextreme.Ē Unfortunately, throughout history, many people have demonized locks.

MarKeese Warner and her friends could spend money at Six Flags but not get jobs there if they wear locks.
It is disparaging for Six Flags to accept substantial amounts of money every year at their parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada from patrons who wear their hair as it grows naturally, but the company would refuse to hire any of those patrons with locks. We spend way too much money at places like Six Flags Theme Parks for them to discriminate against any members of our community. Let us also exercise our voice with our dollars.

There is no excuse in 2012 for such abhorrent employment policies. In a time when the "voice of the people" can indeed be witnessed to move mountains, let us in one accord raise our voice. In a country that purports itself to be the greatest "melting pot" of social values and ideals, itís time for Six Flags to stop its discriminatory policy by categorically refusing to employ people because of their natural hair. Please join me in asking Six Flags to stop discriminating against people with locks.

Click here to sign MarKeese Warner's petition.

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