"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"The sign says long hair freaky people need not apply."

Via Washington Post:

It's right there, under "Extreme Hairstyles," in the 2006 seasonal handbook for Six Flags America employees: no dreadlocks, tails, partially shaved heads "or any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags theming."

Braids "must be in neat, even rows and without beads or other ornaments," the amusement park handbook advises.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think that there are a lot of employment places out there that have very similar grooming standards. I used to have long hair when I was seventeen and there were plenty of places that wouldn't hire me because of it. It is the right of any employer to enforce grooming standards that comply with the image they want to portray to the public. It is also the right of anyone that does not want to comply with the set standards of a company to seek employment elswhere.

Femi Manners and her 16-year-old son, Shakir, agreed that he would not change his hair: short cornrows with a small design braided in. Instead, she contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which is investigating complaints from more than a dozen black employees of Six Flags America.

The complaint is the latest in recent years alleging that private companies or government agencies are violating civil rights with restrictions on ethnic and Africa-inspired hairstyles and beards.

"This is culturally very, very insensitive and possibly discrimination," said King Downing, coordinator of the ACLU's national campaign against racial profiling. "The question is, how long do we have to keep going around and around with this when it comes to people of African descent and the natural style of the hair that they wear?"

So they are playing the race card here? I believe the standards would apply to anyone regardless of race. Most kids that I have met with "partially shaven heads" are white punk rockers. If the park is allowing white kids to have dreadlocks, mohawks, and green hair and only picking on the black kids then they may have a case here. Otherwise, the entire thing is ridiculous.

Wendy Goldberg, national spokeswoman for Six Flags, said the policy has been in place for years. "I understand they don't want to conform, that this is a matter of heritage and pride," she said. "But you can apply the question of heritage and culture and not conforming to piercing, shaved heads and tattoos."

Wendy is exactly right. Any private business has the right to set its own appearance standards. If you don't agree with them, find a job somewhere else. Whats next? Will the ACLU investigate the military for sexual discrimination because they don't allow men to have long hair?

There were a lot of places that I couldn't work when I was 17 because of my long hair. Did I call the ACLU and cry about it? Grooming standards in private businesses has been going on for years in America and it has absolutely nothing to do with race, religion, or prejudice towards minorities. It has to do with an employers prerogative, preference, and freedom to hire who they want or fire whoever doesn't comply with their written policies, and an employee's prerogative and freedom to work wherever they want to. These are called civil liberties, something the ACLU has never heard of. Some places make you wear khakis five days a week, and some make you wear a uniform. I've got a suggestion for these kids if they want to keep their hair 3 feet long. Shut up the whining, and find yourself another job.

HAt Tip: Jay at