Column: Banning do-rags in schools is a pointless microaggression

Gillian Eubanks

Recently, it was brought to my attention that Effingham High School had an incident with a student wearing a do-rag to school. Effingham High School has banned do-rags. During their most recent school board meeting, where the incident was spoken about, they still voted to keep the ban.

They claimed that the reasonings were “respect” in a public place, a “safety concern” and “earbuds.”

Do-rags are used to help maintain Black men and women’s hair. It prevents frizziness, keeps hairstyles in place, protects against Mother Nature and helps creates their beautiful waves. This student had recently had his braids done, so he needed to wear a do-rag.

This issue of whether or not do-rags should or should not be worn has been debated for years in many schools across the nation. But should this even be a debate?

If this is required for their hair, then why is this an issue? They say it’s a “safety concern.” What exactly does that even mean? “Respect” in a public place?

I see it as microaggression at its finest. There has constantly been concerns with Black people’s hair in schools. The schools ban their beautiful braids and dreads, or have forced the students to cut their hair, or make it look more “white.” This doesn’t just happen in schools though. It happens in workplaces too.

These schools, companies and society in general are taking their culture away from them by making these ridiculous bans.

These microaggressions have absolutely no place in schools especially. In Effingham, only 1.4% of the student population is Black, according to the Effingham Daily News.

School is a place where children are supposed to not only be educated, but supported. Where is the support for the Black children? When you restrict them by taking away from their culture and completely disregarding their hair needs, you are saying, “we don’t support you.” Especially in a town with such a small Black community.

There is clearly a lack of education and understanding with these school officials. This is why it is so important to educate yourself, so as to not be micro aggressive.

I have to question that if the roles were reversed, and white people needed something for their hair, would it even be an issue? My guess is, no it wouldn’t be. There is absolutely no safety concern, or earbud concern, or whatever excuse they want to make. This ban is just another way white people create a direct split between themselves and Black people.

 

Gillian Eubanks is a junior health communication major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]