Dreadlocks in the Workplace - DatelineCarolina

Dreadlocks in the Workplace

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Matt Bernie does not allow the criticism of his 26 inch locks to define him. Matt Bernie does not allow the criticism of his 26 inch locks to define him.
Mark Anthony advises students and young professionals about the risk behind dreadlocks. Mark Anthony advises students and young professionals about the risk behind dreadlocks.
Nick Nance has not allowed his dreadlocks to deny him a job. Nick Nance has not allowed his dreadlocks to deny him a job.

 By: Ashlie B. Ouzts 

In 2012 officials at Hampton University officials decided that they would not accept students into their MBA program who had dreadlocks. Hampton labeled the hairstyle as "not professional."

Sid Credle, the dean of Hampton's Business School, says they believe the hairstyle would hamper graduates from landing corporate jobs.

“All we're trying to do is make sure our students get into the job..what they do after that, that's you know, their business,” Credle said.

The University of South Carolina is taking a more of the middle of the road approach on this issue.  Mark Anthony is USC's Associate Career Developer at UofSC .

“Presentation plays a role in the hiring  process. I would hope that a particular hairstyle would not hold someone back from a particular job, but not everyone is as opened-minded and understanding,” he says.

Anthony says that people of the older generation may not understand the work that goes into maintain dreadlocks and they may see it as a more urban style.

For years dreadlocks have been viewed as negative.

Nick Nance has dreadlocks.  He has worked for the City of Columbia for two years and says he had had a smooth transition into the working world.

“It's an unnecessary distractor. I try not to discuss my hairstyle…it shouldn't be a focus while I'm at work,” he says.

Most people associate the natural hairstyle of dreadlocks with the African American population but dreadlocks are not defined by a race, but by a culture.

Matt Bernine is a Caucasian male who has been growing his now 26 inch long locks since 2009. He says he is often stereotyped because of his race and his hairstyle choice. Bernie says he may or may not have ben denied a job because of his dreads but doesn't let that hold him back.

Bernie works for the Department of Juvenile Justice  and says that he is glad his current bosses don't judge him by his hairstyle.

“Keep your hair pulled back out of your face and stay well-groomed. You want to be able to make eye contact with people. Be sure to research the organization you're going to be interviewing with before going in,” Anthony Says.

Nance and Bernie both say they've have stayed true to themselves and their culture by keeping their dreadlocks in the working world.

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