Skip to main content

Cornrows Create Controversy

Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Strain was taken off the street earlier this month after he showed up to work with his hair braided in cornrows.It amazes me sometimes the scenarios and situations that are often reported in the news. A great deal of the time, it is not due to relevance and credibility of the news that is being reported, but the event that happened. Another one of those types of stories occurred this past week. It has been reported by the New York Daily News and Philadelphia Daily News that Thomas Strain, a white police officer in Philadelphia, was pulled of street duty, and ordered to change his hair style by his black superior. Now, what makes this situation so peculiar is that several of Strain’s fellow comrades also sport that same cornrow look, but are black, are still on duty. The report can be read here.

Despite the common tone of the story, there is something about it that raises several flags about our society.

First and foremost, let’s acknowledge the underlying, and obvious truth that cornrows are ethnical, and synonymous with blacks. In some areas, and some countries in fact, cornrows are indeed cultural. So with that said, yes I understand the double standard in the story.

However, my biggest gripe is with that double standard. Exactly what year are we currently living in? I’ve never been in full support of employers frowning upon specific ethnic and cultural appearances such as cornrows and dreadlocks. If kept orderly and professionally presentable while keeping the credibility and safety of the occupation in tact, they should indeed be allowed. Though, that is a discussion for another time.

Yet, we are all in agreement that if hairstyles are subject for employment suspension or termination in various fields, those rules and guidelines should be universal. Hairstyle compliance should not and cannot be judged based on ethnicity or gender.

With that said, the other alarm that goes off is the obvious discrimination that is taking place. Strain is obviously wearing cornrows in support of a specific lifestyle that he chooses to support. And well, hey, there is nothing wrong with that. Our world, despite the stereotypes that some may have and their inability to get passed them, is becoming more and more diverse everyday. If a white man decides to wear cornrows – cool. It is all cool.

After all, it is 2009. We have seen a white rapper, and a black country singer.

Blacks now play golf, Asians now play the center position in basketball, and Latino’s sing reggae.

And how about this, the leader of the free world is a man of color.

All situations stereotyped before towards specific ethnicities. All broken. All in some way, made this world a better (and civilized) place.

For years we were relegated to dress, act, speak, talk, and live our lives a certain way because of race and ethnicity. That has to, will, and must change. Stereotypes are a sickness, and its only cure is through education and blurring the lines between us.

And as for The Philadelphia Police Department, to second the quote made by a police officer in the story, “I can’t believe we are wasting time and energy on this.”

For I’m sure there are much larger issues to be attended to in the city of Philadelphia than who should be allowed to wear cornrows.

Recently Read Posts

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 6/19/22

3 Up 1. Father's Day and Juneteenth - A combined weekend of all-sort of celebrations, reflections, and appreciation. Sending gratitude and good vibes to all fathers, substitute fathers, step-in fathers, mentors, and figures who have helped shape the lives of many.  Also, take some time to reflect and think through the reflective day that is Juneteenth - new to so many - of the horrific start to our country's existence, and the freedom that came after a century of captivity.  2. Ashley Adirika - This is a dope story. It's the kind of story that is amazing and quite frankly, inspirational. Adirika, a Florida teen, graduates high school with offers from all Ivy schools and many more top institutions in the country. If that wasn't enough, Ashley also started her own non-profit organization to help mentorship for young women.  Unbelievably amazing.  3. Steph Curry - My dude was cooking! Steph continues to be one of my favorite athletes, and such a joy to watch. I was there

Dope Sports Threats - Nike City Connect Series (Milwaukee Brewers)

Before we dive into the Milwaukee Brewers Nike City Connect uniforms, I want to give some major props to the Brewers organization for handling the Lorenzo Cain situation . Allowing Cain to remain with the team long enough to reach the 10-year milestone, despite a subpar performance and every intention to designate him for assignment, is classy.  Of course, that 10 years (and 5 years with the same team) gives Cain added incentives to his pension as a Major League player. The Brewers didn't have to do that. Classy stuff.  As for these new threads, it's tough for Nike to surpass the aesthetics of the Brewers' current everyday design. The pinstripes, the combination of blue and yellow, the arc of the font across the chest - all of it just feels like the very best of old-school-baseball-in modern-age-aesthetics. And yes, there is the beautiful, amazing, fantastic logo that sits atop the hat is a baseball glove, wrapped with the secret message of "MB" (Milwaukee Br...yo

Grappling w/ School Safety Updates

I never once thought this would be a part of my experience as a parent. I've grappled with future conversations, thought about how I'll help my multi-racial son through the world that will surely be complex in how it views him, and yes, brace myself for those conversations - you know the ones. Those conversations that my parents had with me, a child of color, in disarming my presence in specific spaces.  Never did I expect to find myself grappling with the reality of the new topic for that awkward sit down to make the first imprint on life memories - son, here is what you need to do if there is a mass school shooting ... I have made no secret here on this site - my upbringing was not pure, was not clean. Not me per se, but I was certainly exposed to my fair share of violence, drugs, and various matters that desensitized and jaded how exposed my experiences really were. My academic environment - specifically high school - was a challenge. Underfunded, overcrowded, excessive v

Dear Son, First Swell of Pride

--- 3 Years, 9 Months --- Dear Son,  It's been a while since I've dropped a note to you - actually I haven't done so since your last birthday. The last nine months since then have been trying, tremendous, and of course, VERY interesting. We've been able to witness your personality come to be, your talents begin to blossom, and overall, you begin to establish yourself very early in this world.  After all, COVID continues and really has been a dominant presence in your life. While masks as of this writing are no longer required in school, over the past few months your mother and I have had you home again, a lot - much like the start of the pandemic - after variants of COVID closed your school repeatedly (and frequently), and for a brief moment had society on edge.  Regardless, we made it. And during those stints of 8 days, 10 days, or whatever the state mandate was at the time for the latest recent closure, I learned not how much you missed school, but truly, how much you