Black Charter School’s Hair Policy Draws Ire of Melissa Harris-Perry

Robby Soave, Daily Caller, September 9, 2013

The plight of a seven-year-old girl who left her Oklahoma charter school because she violated its hairstyle policy drew the attention of MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry, who joined local parents in criticizing the school.

During her second week of school, Tiana Parker was told by administrators at Deborah Brown Community School that she needed to change her natural, African hairstyle that consisted of miniature dreadlocks tied in a ponytail. Her father, Terrence Parker—a barber—angrily transferred her to another school, and parents of other kids alleged that racism was at work.

The elder Parker pointed out that the policy didn’t constitute racism, however, since most of the people who run the school are in fact black as well.


The controversy attracted the attention of Harris-Perry, who wrote an open letter to Tiana in celebration of her hair—and in condemnation of the school.

“Your old school might want to revamp its policy, because instead of enforcing a uniform policy for students; it reinforces stereotypes and undermines a student’s sense of self,” wrote Perry.

State legislators who belong to the Oklahoma Black Caucus have called for the state to review Deborah Brown’s charter school license.

Administrators at Langston University—which sponsors Deborah Brown—said the hair policy should be changed, and the school agreed.

Even so, Tiana has no intention of returning to her old school.

“They’re mean,” she said in a statement.



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • T_Losan

    I guess it’s too much to ask that a black “political scientist” grasp that the whole point of a uniform is to discourage “sense of self.”

    • mgs166

      Yes it is. They’re incapable of grasping anything but low hanging fruit.

      • joesolargenius

        Touche , I wished I would have thought of that line about the low hanging fruit.
        I have noticed that whenever I have to teach a black person how to do something at work that they make me tell them everything multiple times and often ask (why I gotta do dat) as if they can’t believe their expected to do something for their paycheck .

      • Johnny Squire

        And anything not nailed down.

    • sbuffalonative

      They complain that their children are failing. It’s been proven that rules and standards can help children learn. So they put their kid in such a school and then complain about the rules and standards.

  • OlderWoman

    ‘dreadlocks in a ponytail’.


  • ncpride

    These nitwits are so desperate to find ‘racism’ around every corner, it’s getting pretty pathetic, not to mention…..hilariously contemptible. I mean, a ‘hairstyle’ is now a ‘plight’ for da ‘po black folk. How can any rational person not scoff at and ridicule this nonsense? You’re just sad and tired, Melissa.

  • Spartacus

    “The elder Parker pointed out that the policy didn’t constitute racism,
    however, since most of the people who run the school are in fact black
    as well.”


    That be rayciss !

    • sbuffalonative

      How do they know this is a he?

      • IstvanIN

        I always thought it was the women who did the lip-plate thing.

      • Spartacus

        I’m guessing either magic, or they looked under it’s grass skirt .

    • Johnny Squire

      He’s not wearing his iPod, either.

    • Whitetrashgang

      If Obama had a son. Now the stock does match the color of the groid, and the bracelet made of a old radial tire does kind of look good. But nothing screams success like a lip plate. That boy is going somewhere!

    • Wethepeople

      So while we built this, they were trying to fit desert plates in their lips.. We’re the same though right?

      • Spartacus

        Are you insinuating that western architecture is somehow superior to huts made out of straw and dung ? CULTURAL IMPERIALIST !

        • Wethepeople

          If the boot fits.

      • sbuffalonative

        While Europeans were producing the organ, the harpsichord, the violin, the clarinet, the bassoon, et al, and developing a system of musical notation, Africans were beating on hollowed tree trunks.

      • William Krapek

        Ah the Vatican Library. One of Italy’s most underrated works.

  • Irishgirl

    Ms. Harris-Perry has waaaayyyy too much time on her hands.

    • sbuffalonative

      She thinks she’s all that. *snap*

  • sbuffalonative

    Blacks don’t like standards of any kind. Standards are seen as oppressive.

    I have a nephew who when he was young had longish hair. When his mother enrolled him in a Catholic school, they told her his hair needed to be trimmed so she took him to a barber.

  • pcmustgo

    The problem isn’t the hair. It’s their behavior. They think school uniforms can chance that culture… Apparently Blacks do need more discipline than white children.

    • Alexandra1973

      I think deportation would help.

      • joesolargenius

        Lets trade all the African Americans in America for all the White South Africans !


    I love when these race baiters come rushing into a situation with their “you’re a racist”, faces on. Only to find out that the supposed racist school is actually ran by black people. I bet you could visibly see all the race baiting hot air escape from these people. When the father deflated their racial justice tantrum by telling them the school was run by blacks.

    “Awwwwwwww, so you mean we can’t talk about our racial hatred for whites which we properly disguised as racial concern for other black people, all wrapped up in a speech about whitey trying to deprive us of our natural hairstyles and cultural roots?” NOPE! Not this time race baiter!

  • joesolargenius

    I can still remember their afros complete with picks sticking out back in the sixties and seventies ,most of them gladly gave up that part of their culture in a mad dash to appear more white while openly rejecting White names for their children .

    • Sick of it

      Some still wear their hair that way…

  • bigone4u

    As a graduate of Tulane U. I feel shame each time Professor Melissa Harris-Perry opens her stupid half-white mouth. Fire her, freeze her salary, but do something Tulane because you are becoming the laughingstock university of America. I would advise MSNBC to fire her too, but with O’Donnell and Sharpton over there, they have their hands full.

    • Johnny Squire

      I often wonder that maybe nitwits like MHP are given positions at universities and news outlets merely for the entertainment of their employers. A kind of “Dinner with Schmucks” scenario, except with the intention of causing cultural damage in the process.

  • borogirl54

    Having dreadlocks in elementary school is one thing but expecting to find a job while sporting dreadlocks is another. I would not hire a job applicant who showed up for a job interview with dreadlocks.

  • 1proactive2

    A “sense of worth” is all based on a hairdo. That’s a new one on me, and that is obviously one fragile kid. What is more hilarious is the adult-child defending her disregard for simple rules.

    This is one clue as to why blacks have so much trouble later in life when it comes to following social rules and obeying the law. They just don’t like them, and besides, the adults taught this kid that rules just don’t apply to her. Idiots.

  • Johnny Squire

    The inanity of Melissa Harris-Perry’s argument against the dress code at the Deborah Brown Charter school shows us that she is cultural anarchist. Even at a black run school, standards are unacceptable when they infringe on “black culture”, which apparently has a long tradition of being whatever blacks say it is at any given moment. In other words, being black means being ungovernable. In her MSNBC video she tells young Tiana that “her choices are limitless”. I wonder whether MHP would go after Tiana’s parents with the same ridiculous stance if they decided to limit her endless choices by forbidding her from wearing dreads?

  • RHG

    And some rightwinger Republicans want to provide “vouchers” for these people in order for them to go to better schools and yet they can’t follow simple rules, so these “better schools” will then become the jungles the public schools have become.

    • bubo

      They are worse. The operators, many times blacks without qualifications, get at least a couple years worth of blank checks from the state education fund. They pay themselves and their family members big salaries for a couple years while providing no education at all to the kids. After a while the schools shut down, many times in the middle of the year stranding kids. It’s a complete joke.

      The Republicans support this garbage because they think it weakens teachers unions.

  • 1XXX

    Well it’s good to see that the negroes (and Melissa HarriscPerry) have their priorities squared away.

  • MekongDelta69

    You mean someone actually watches MSNBC Harris-Hyphen and takes her seriously?!

  • IstvanIN

    Hair is one of the top priorities of the black female.

  • Sick of it

    Seeing as how dreadlocks are not an American hairstyle to begin with, this policy makes sense.

  • Johnny Squire

    Probably seething at their lack of respect for her feminist-marxist view of black culture.

    “Problem is, Credle is promoting the idea that Black men aren’t talented, smart and engaging enough for people to see past their hair and that white corporate structure can’t possibly liberate itself enough from racism to see beyond it either.”

    What bullsh*t. Any one who’s watched professional sports sees that white corporate America doesn’t give a damn about the hairstyles of their employees as long as they produce. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for us) for those whose jobs are more cerebral conformity trumps flair. Ask any white member of the ABA or the AMA.

  • me

    No more clitorectomies or voodoo ceremonies in the playground? No more twerking and humpty in the cafeteria? That’s raaaycis!

  • gemjunior

    Contemporary Issues Affecting Black Hair or Contemporary Methods of Deconstructing Hair of People of Color. This is obviously a topic that needs further study, and should be added to the Black Studies programs of all HBUCs and eventually to all or at least most colleges and universities. It’s shocking that in this age of post-racialism, we have yet to reach out to and try to communicate with black people regarding their own experiences, including their reactions to and feelings about white privilege. At least 3 credits with a lab course of 4cr.It might also be something that could be planned. Also, White Studies courses could also add this topic to their curriculum. After all, white people – especially women – are notorious for taking their long, silky hair for granted, which is a source of racist white privilege. Ask any black women if they’ve ever had a white girl or woman shake her hair right in the black person’s face in order to drive home their innate sense of white privilege home.
    I remember a girl at my job had dredlocks and whenever it rained her hair smelled bad from a mile away. Like a skunk was in the room. Also, she used to scratch her head a lot and then examine under her finger nails and some semihard goo was there. It was appalling. No way would I ever tolerate that in my classroom. Also, some white people have tried to wear them and it’s gross.

  • bubo

    The 40 something mulatto with a lisp and a white husband seizes on non-stories like this to emphasize her blackness.

    These charter schools are a scam anyway so I don’t really care what happens but the idea that the Oklahoma black caucus would shut one down because of it’s “hair policy” is a prime example that blacks are absolutely hopeless and don’t belong in this society. They belong in the bush making babies or sleeping.

  • Raydonn

    I keep repeating the holy mantra, ‘All men are created equal’ to no avail…..I’m rather certain that is not the case. I wonder if Ms Perry believes that?

  • prunepit

    What is the “hair policy”?

  • One aspect to this that nobody has picked up is that blacks are obsessed with appearances and ignore substance. Sending a little girl home from school because they don’t like her hair, while ignoring her behavior and classwork is completely typical of them.

    They’re mentally unfit to run any organization, let alone schools for minor children.