I was told last year by a younger Caucasian coworker that dreadlocks are “unprofessional.” Taking no offense to his opinion, I proceeded to ask why. He had little to no reasoning behind his opinion other than stating that this is what he always “knew.”
This sparked a question within me.What is “knowing?” To know is “to be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information” says Merriam Webster’s definition. People tend to state what they “know” without fully understanding what it means. They don’t even “know” how to “know”. People of all races, backgrounds, religions, etc. suffer from this issue of not “knowing.”
By definition, my coworker had already proved himself incorrect in this discussion by stating that he “knows” that dreadlocks are “unprofessional” simply because he hadn’t observed, inquired, or been informed. Had he spent the time to simply “observe” me, he would not be so misinformed. I do not blame him for his opinion, only for his misinformed statement.
This day and age, we should not be so misinformed. Let us evolve past these aged stereotypes. Let us grow past these ignorant views. Let us refrain from prejudgment as well as refrain from believing we “know” based off of these judgments. Times have changed and hair, style, etc. are all means of expression in this extremely artistic generation we are a part of. A hairstyle does not define you just as the color of your skin does not define you. Only YOU define you.
I take no offense to anyone’s judgments. I appreciated my coworker's opinion, as I do any opinion differing from my own, as it is an opportunity to learn and/or teach. Use these people’s judgments as moments to inform the misinformed. With that being said, I, Brandon Brice Javon Payne, am a 25 year old dark skinned American with dreadlocks. I graduated from one of the top 2 high schools in my district with a 4.2 GPA and honors. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Event Management, a 3.5 GPA, and a myriad of leadership positions and experience. I am the CEO of an event managing company with my own board of directors AND employees. I listen to Hip Hop music very loudly every chance I get and dance wildly past sweating. I can rock a snapback, sneakers and a t-shirt as well as a suit and tie. I have a 9-5 job, but I also have ambitions to turn my dreams into my reality and have not let anyone stop the progression. But hey, what’s “professional” anyway?
These are just my thoughts. What about you?