Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hair Codes to Protect Society...from What?

Hair is controversial. Still. I thought we got past ignorant hair code standards in the 70s.

Can hair harm society? Is hair a dangerous thing that we must strictly control?

Chaos and dangerous behavior is bad. Rules help society keep bad things from happening. 

But when authorities enforce silly rules that make no sense, it motivates younger people to rebel against them and their institutions and belief systems as being ridiculous, arbitrary, disconnected from rationality, and needlessly domineering.

Submission to stupid rules paves the way for totalitarianism.

Check out this Peoria Journal Star report "The Long and Short of a Central Coach's Suspension". It's about  a high school coach that allegedly harassed a student about his dreadlocks and wouldn't let him play a sport because the coach didn't like long hair.

Are we justified in teaching kids to all look the same, like a 1950s person, and not to be "different" or express themselves in a way that some stuffy old authority figure doesn't approve of?

This has nothing to do with "professionalism". Pro athletes have dreadlocks and other wild hair styles. What does hair style have to do with academics or athletics? Nothing.

Some say we should force students to not look like hoodlums. Dreadlocks is not "hoodlum hair". It's a style imported from Jamaica and has religious connotations.

According to Wikipedia entry on dreadlocks:


"Dreadlocks are associated most closely with the Rastafari movement, but people from many ethnic groups in history before them have worn dreadlocks, including many ancient Semitic and Indo-Aryan peoples of the Near East and Asia Minor, Hamitic peoples of East Africa, Sadhus of Nepal, India and the Sufi Rafaees, the Māori people of New Zealand, the Maasai and the Oromo of Ethiopia, and the Sufi malangs and fakirs of Pakistan, ancient Spartan warriors of Greece, and medieval Irish Warriors."


Hair police fanatics are ignoring the fact that the coach is accused of violating District 150's prohibition of coaches imposing appearance standards on student athletes.

Those who support hair codes say "look presentable or stay home", meaning if you don't look like some adult wants you to look like, you can't play a sport. This is pushing a very superficial and nonsensical standard upon students, young people who like to experiment with dress, hair, music, art, and other tastes in harmless, non-destructive ways. That's what youth is all about: having fun and forming a personal identity.

Why does the "adult world" continue to feel threatened by hair? Why do authority figures like high school coaches and principals fear something as innocent as hair? Has hair ever hurt them?

I oppose regimentation and enforced conformity on such trivial and irrelevant matters. When I was in high school, I got sent to the principal's office constantly. Why? Because my hair touched my ears. This is stupid to force all students to look like their parents, or soldiers, or yuppies.

No wonder kids rebel and go to extremes. They see the stupidity and hypocrisy of meaningless adult "rules". Wear your hair the way I do, or you can't play this sport. Submit to my authority so I'll feel like a big important domineering power.

I think people who insist on "correct" vs. "incorrect" hair styles are missing the main point. It's good to have structure and protocols to avoid anarchy, instability, and criminal behavior. But arbitrary rules enforced by an authority figure, just because it's the authority figure's preference, and have nothing to do with the sport or education, are unnecessary, trivial, and bullying, in my opinion.

I think you will regret imposing silly rules on students, when there are far more important rules and issues to be concerned with. I remember getting in "trouble" for having hair touching my ears, not "long hair" as we see it today, but just slightly longer than the military style crewcut and conformist short hair stylings of the uptight and hypocritical establishment.

Slightly longer hair was considered by some as being "war protest", "revolutionary", "anti-establishment", or "non-conformist". Thus, it had to be persecuted and shorn. If your hair was extremely short, certain adults felt safer, happier, confirmed in their superficiality.

Calling a hair style "ghetto" or "gangbanging" is ridiculous and verges into racism.

Look like your teacher, look like the coach, look like the cops, look like the soldiers -- or stay home? Is that the message we really want to enforce? Did you hair police ever have wild hair styles when you were in high school or college?

And this boy just admires his father and wants to have his father's hair style. Which is dreadlocks.


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