Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Black Brazilians are ditching hair straighteners and white standards of beauty”

Women in Brazil are also moving to natural hair and abandoning “white standards of beauty.” According to the Washington Post,

Bruna Aparecida smiled cautiously at her reflection as a hairdresser snipped the last strands of her straight hair. Her head was crowned with curls.

“I didn’t know myself without straight hair,” said Aparecida, 27, who used chemical relaxers for nearly a decade before deciding to go natural. She used to be the only black woman at the bank where she works who had kinky hair. Today, she is one of six.

“It’s all the rage this year,” she said. “Many of my friends are doing it.” (


September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

“Protests over black girls’ hair rekindle debate about racism in South Africa”

Here’s the lead of an article from the September 3 Washington Post about protests concerning school guidelines regarding natural hair:

In recent years, staff members at the prestigious Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa’s administrative capital had taken to telling black students to “fix” their hair, according to some current and former pupils. Exactly what “fix” meant depended on who was issuing the order, the young women said: Some were told to use chemical straighteners, while others got a reminder about the school rule limiting cornrows, dreadlocks and braids to a centimeter or less in diameter.

To many of them, nothing needed fixing in the first place.

Last month, propelled by the long-simmering belief that such criticisms were discriminatory, a group of current students took action. Protests were staged on the leafy, gated campus over the hair fracas and other incidents reported at the school, including teachers allegedly discouraging students from speaking African languages. (

We’re seeing some of these restrictions—and resulting protests—popping up in the US, especially in private schools.

September 19, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

More states are trying to protect black employees who want to wear natural hairstyles at work

Here’s the lead of an interesting article about restrictions on natural hairstyles in the workplace as well as state legal bans (and potential bans):

In 2017, at a gala luncheon hosted at the opulent Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, Minda Harts found herself seated next to a recruiter for corporate board positions. Over cocktails and a plated fish entree, the two talked about race in the boardroom; the recruiter, a white woman, complained about the challenges of finding black women to be corporate directors.

To test how she’d respond, Harts, who founded a career development company for women of color and had a book on the topic released in August, asked the recruiter who she would feel more comfortable putting forward as a candidate for a board: a woman of color with a sleek ponytail, or one with a natural hairstyle such as locs or an Afro. The recruiter said the woman with the ponytail, Harts recalled. “The phrase she used was ‘clean-cut,’ ” Harts said.  (

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