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AirTalk asks: What are the racial attributes of dreadlocks?

by AirTalk®

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Dreadlock artist Ananda Rieber repairs and maintains a man's dread hairstyle in his flat in Berlin on July 9, 2013. JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Every workplace has guidelines on appearance, but what about policies on hair texture?

A recent NPR article notes a 2012 incident where an African-American job candidate, Chastity Jones, was denied employment because she refused to cut off her dreadlocks. This led to a discrimination lawsuit which ended in an appeals court last month, ruling against Jones.

So what are the legalities concerning dreadlocks in the workplace and should they less accepted than rules that let employees wear hijab or yarmulkes? And does the fact that people of any race can wear dreadlocks make a difference?

Larry Mantle speaks to Law Professor Camille Gear Rich and Africana Studies Professor Noliwe Rooks about the nuances and legalities of wearing dreadlocks on the job.


Camille Gear Rich, professor of law and sociology provost level diversity liaison for the social sciences  at the USC Gould School of Law

Noliwe Rooks, associate professor of Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies at Cornell University

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