Six Flags: Stop Discriminating Against People With Dreadlocks

Should my hair keep me from getting a job? MarKeese Warner.

When I signed MarKeese Warner’s petition for the below, I did so in the belief that no person(s), organization, government, or corporation, etc., should make our children, any of them, feel less simply because of the way they choose to wear their hair.

I hear all the time sports figures, actors, actresses, music entertainers, politicians, and other so-called public figures should be upstanding role models. By that same token a corporation such as Six Flags should be held by those same standards. Just because they can and because there hasn’t been a cry and hue against this very personal discriminatory policy, Six Flags and others like them continue to tell young folks like Ms. Warner that their own natural hair is offensive and therefore unacceptable.

MarKeese’s picture shows a beautiful, brown-skinned teenager with long curly locks. What is so scary about this young lady’s own natural hair that she need not even apply for employment with Six Flags? Is it that her locks aren’t golden enough; or not straightened and styled in an acceptable manner? Will some so-called upstanding citizen take one look at her and vow never again to return to Six Flags? I think not. She’s beautiful and all of our children should know that no matter the texture of their hair.

Ronald Reagan during a 1987 speech he gave near the Berlin Wall said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” A challenge he issued to Mikhail Gorbachev to end oppression and all that that wall represented. I supposed Mr. Reagan could have ignored it. Either way he would still be president. But he didn’t and a few years later that wall came down.

There are many expressions of oppression in this world. Being told your own naturally grown hair is so offensive it could keep you from obtaining that most essential of things, a job, hits to the core. Sure MarKeese could just take a back seat and hush up. Sure the compliant and conformist would see this corporate entity continue its ways until hell freezes over.

My signing this petition is nothing as grand as what President Reagan said in his speech, but at least in my own way I have spoken. Six Flags and others like you it’s time to end this discriminatory policy. Those of us with a sense of fairness and decency, it’s time to say in one voice, “Six Flags stop discriminating against people with dreadlocks.”

Petition started by: MarKeese Warner, Bladensburg, Maryland

Like many students across the country, I have been looking for a summer job before I start my senior year at Pennsylvania State University where I’m studying engineering. As I’m living at home in Maryland for the summer, I thought working at the nearby Six Flags would be a great summer job. I’ve been going to Six Flags with my family for years and have even had season passes on occasion, so I applied for a food service job. However, as I started to go through the interview process, I was disturbed to find out that I couldn’t work at Six Flags because of the texture of my hair. Six Flags has a strict policy that prohibits employees from having dreadlocks (or “locks” as some people call them) as they classify them as an “extreme” hairstyle along with mohawks and unnatural coloring.

Locks are predominantly worn by African-American, Caribbean and African people as an expression of how our hair grows naturally. My hair is important to me and part of who I am. I’ve had locks for about five years. Being disqualified as a potential employee because of my hair made me feel defeated; as my hair is representation of my personal growth through the years. It hurts to hear major employers like Six Flags call my natural hair and texture “extreme.” Unfortunately, throughout history, many people have demonized locks.

It is disparaging for Six Flags to accept substantial amounts of money every year at their parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada from patrons who wear their hair as it grows naturally, but the company would refuse to hire any of those patrons with locks. We spend way too much money at places like Six Flags Theme Parks for them to discriminate against any members of our community. Let us also exercise our voice with our dollars.

There is no excuse in 2012 for such abhorrent employment policies. In a time when the “voice of the people” can indeed be witnessed to move mountains, let us in one accord raise our voice. In a country that purports itself to be the greatest “melting pot” of social values and ideals, it’s time for Six Flags to stop its discriminatory policy by categorically refusing to employ people because of their natural hair. Please join me in asking Six Flags to stop discriminating against people with locks.