October 01, 2019 Feature

Workplace Discrimination and Eurocentric Beauty Standards

Kim Carter

Do not remove the kinks from your hair—remove them from your brain.
—Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey was a political activist, publisher, and journalist whose life’s work included sparking a Pan-African and Rastafarian movement in America as he sought to enrich the lives of oppressed Blacks. Garvey’s ideology—however radical for the 1920s—far predates the U.S. Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yet, the quote above speaks to the heart of an ongoing social construct of injustice around Black identity and inferior biases toward African features, which resulted in Blacks conforming to European beauty standards by straitening—or removing the kink from—Black hair. Today, these biases remain relevant in American society and our legal system, nearly 100 years later.

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