In this day and age, entrepreneurs flourish by rebelling against traditional values, but a Dean of a renowned university whose roots are deep in Black history seemingly wants its students to drown in conformity.
Hampton University, a historically black institution who is dedicated to “multiculturalism” according to its mission statement, placed a ban on cornrows and dreadlocks in 2001. The ban only applies to students enrolled in Hampton’s five-year M.B.A. program, though that has not stopped backlash and complaints from critics.
Sid Credle, Dean of the Business School at Hampton, believes the ban will help students’ secure corporate jobs and trusts the ban will positively aid this objective. “All we’re trying to do is make sure our students get into the job,” Credle told ABC News. “What they do after that, that’s you know, their business.”
Even if Credle may want the best for his students and believe his actions are just, his views on the matter are wide of the mark.
Credle should know that human beings are radically free—free to define what is right or wrong, free to determine their own wellbeing, and free to decide whether or not cornrows and dreadlocks will hinder their job opportunities.
Nonetheless, Credle ensures that cornrows and dreadlocks was never a Black tradition, stating, “When was it that cornrows and dreadlocks were a part of African American history? I mean Charles Drew didn’t wear it, Muhammad Ali didn’t wear it, Martin Luther King didn’t wear it.”
But instead of forcing its students to follow traditional values of professionalism, Hampton and Credle should allow, and challenge students to question it. Besides, who determined cornrows and dreadlocks in the professional world are wrong, unethical and unprofessional?
For a historically black university proud of its commitment to multiculturalism, Hampton should be ashamed of its ban on cornrows and dreadlocks. Not necessarily because students cannot accept their God-given freedom, however, or the fact that these hairstyles are indeed deeply rooted in black history, but because Hampton instills conformity in its students by restricting them to abide to America’s standards of “ethics.”