Ohio School Tries to Ban “Afro Puffs” and “Twisted Braids”

Sequoia Shirley

Who knew that unique cultural styles would be designated as unkempt or as a lack of proper grooming? An Ohio school attempted to place a ban on “afro puffs” and “twisted braids” to maintain a certain type of cultural style within the school. This lack of sensitivity to cultural differences sought to keep young African Americans from expressing themselves ethnically by forcing them to conform to a different type of hairstyle that is less ethnic and more Western. The school’s response to objections of this proposed policy was an indicator that they view symbols of African American beauty as inferior and disgraceful.

African Americans cling to natural hair textures and hairstyles as a beautiful symbol of pride in their culture. For a long time African Americans have undergone ridicule, mockery, and have faced extreme prejudice for having an “ethnic” appearance. The various natural hairstyles are examples of natural adornments that accent African American beauty. To degrade and demean such beauty as “unruly” or “undisciplined” is to indicate disdain for the culture’s beauty symbol as a whole, and to emphasize Western beauty as more desirable and presentable. It also indicates that naturalness of any kind is undesirable (not just for African Americans) if it does not match with Western culture’s perception of beauty. People must show respect for cultural differences and not be ethnocentric; They must respect that beauty comes in various forms and is defined in many ways.


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