Posted by: Habladora | July 24, 2008

Kindergarten Won’t Admit Apache Boy with Braids

Gender-policing is known to hurt kids’ psyches and feet. Now, a Texas school is proving that gender-policing can also perfectly complement racism and xenophobia to ensure that children’s educations are damaged as well:

When Adriel Arocha, 5, was born, his father, Kenney, vowed to teach him his heritage.

“We feel that it’s important to raise him as Native American until he’s able to make a choice,” said Kenny.

And part of that heritage meant he would not to cut his son’s hair, believing hair holds spiritual meaning…

All that was fine until Adriel’s parents planned to enroll the five-year-old at Needville Elementary School. Despite promising to keep his hair neatly braided, the district refused to accept him.

A quick glance at Needville Elementary School’s dress code makes it clear what this is really about:

1. Hair shall be clean, well groomed, and out of the eyes. No hair shall cover any part of the ear or touch the top of the standard collar in the back. Hair shall not be excessively full (not to exceed two inches in fullness).
2. Designs are not permitted in the hair.
3. One straight line for parting purposes in permitted.
4. Sideburns shall be neatly trimmed and be no longer than the middle of the ear lobe.
5. Extreme hairdos of any nature that would be disruptive shall be in violation of the dress code.
6. Not tufts or tails are permitted.
7. Hair when combed forward cannot be in the boys’ eyes.

It is obvious from looking at the schools’ photos that the ‘no long hair’ rule only applies to boys – so we can safely translate rule 1 to mean ‘no girly-boys allowed.’ Then there is the ‘no non-white hairstyles allowed’ series of rules: no full hair styles, no designs, no ‘extreme hairdos’…

This all seems to add up to the no political hairstyles rule – aka no hairstyles that suggest that you’re OK with being different from us.

(h/t: Shameless)

Cross-posted from The Feminist Underground

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Responses

  1. aka no hairstyles that suggest that you’re OK with being different from us.

    And some people still believe that whiteness is just naturally occurring and docile in nature. Whiteness is culturally disciplined in ever single social institution and one refuses to refute culture, it is severely disciplined.

  2. should read and when one refuses to refute culture that is not specifically Caucasian, it is severely disciplined.

  3. Bogus!

  4. Also a great example of intersectionality…

  5. Thanks for catching this. I saw it on the news but didn’t catch the names because I was too busy screaming at my mother who insisted that he “go back where he came from if he doesn’t want to follow the rules”.

    After all, we all know how extreeeeeeeme braids are. Hair is so much more important than education–dur. So ridiculous. Such a waste.

    I know other schools permit religious expression, and that includes hair, so I have no idea what this school intends to accomplish.

  6. Off topic, but I love this: Hair shall not be excessively full (not to exceed two inches in fullness).

    Afros can be dangerous you know. Really disruptive.

  7. Their logo is “Lil’ Jays Fly Because They Think They Can.”

    Social darwinism ftw…

  8. Here’s sexism that hurts both males AND other backgrounds. Way to go, school.

  9. See, this is stuff I can cite when I talk how incredibly ridiculous some people are in their effort to have everyone look, think, act, feel the same. We can’t all be the same person. Get over it.

    My hair is too long? Okay, let me grab some scissors.
    Sorry, does my face offend you? Oh, no problem, I can get plastic surgery for that.
    My skin is too dark?! Not dark enough?! Hmm… what to do now?

  10. Great post and commentary!

  11. […] Kindergarten Won’t Admit Apache Boy with Braids from Feminicracy: gender policing at its most disgusting (tags: gender gender_stereotypes discrimination gender_police) […]

  12. Wow. I don’t have an afro, but I keep my hair natural, and on some days, my hair would rival 2 inches of “fullness”. On those days, would I be forced to put my hair in ponytails to be able to come to school, or would I just be kicked out until I agreed to get my hair straightened?

    Ridiculous.

  13. Has anyone started a letter campaign about this?

  14. Well, yes, in a way… Feministing is now covering this story and Jessica’s post gives Superintendent Curtis Rhodes contact information, so some readers have shared what they’ve written. Anything more organized would be wonderful, though… perhaps it is something we should consider?


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