According to The Root a group of young black women were threatened with suspension for wearing their head wraps – called geles – at the School for Creative Studies in Durham, N.C. While the act was intended to honor their culture for Black History Month, the girls were told that if they did not wear their head-wraps revealing their hair they would have to remove them. School policy states that “hats, caps, hoods, sweat bands and bandannas or other head wear worn inside [the] school building” are not allowed. However, garments related to cultural tradition are not noted as prohibited.
These girls were essentially asked to make themselves less disruptive, a concept that is not new. Their choice to be proud of their race was regarded as an exclusive act toward their peers, ironic when the exclusive acts of non-black students have been disregarded for years. A mass demonstration was organized Monday afternoon where many protesters wore their own geles and calling for administrative acknowledgment of cultural pride.
This is not the first time that black girls have been given the shaft, and demonstrations such as this affirm the need to encourage these young women to express themselves rather than compartmentalize their identities for the sake of an unaccepting society.