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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pardon my apperance

I wonder if many of my followers remember a teacher named Jane Elliot?
If not here is a recap, Following  the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jane Elliot ( from Iowa) realized she had to have her students understand discrimination first hand. Her class and the area she lived in was totally homogeneous. Her courageous experiment had a life altering impact on her students. ( IF you do not know what she did.. google it- A class divided)

  I recently did something that has had a life altering impact on me... As simple as Jane Elliot telling her students that brown eyes were considered superior to those with blue eyes and watching and recording the events... I simply dyed my hair a bright (Rhianna red) and I too recorded the events.

 * It's not the best picture... and it's a bit two tone right now.. but it's not HORRIBLE

In high school, I saw African Americans getting discriminated and I couldn't  understand it. In college I watched people in the Gay alliance groups get discriminated, still not understanding why? America is a land of diversity. People migrate from all over the word. I am Italian and I know many Italians have been discriminated but I never felt like this. Discrimination happens all the time, even within same racial ethnicity's. The way people are dressed, if they have nose piercings, tatoo's and what I witnessed first hand.. Hair color.
Why? would a person in there 40's decide to this? call it what you like? immature? whimsical? daring? stupid? I have followed a fairly straight and narrow path most of my life. I have never gotten in trouble and I have never done anything too crazy. I chose to stay home with my son 2 years ago... and stopped working. I had been a pre-K teacher for many years and I took my job serious, and my work ethic serious. In most conservative jobs there are dress codes: no denium, flip flops, cut-off jeans etc.. but there are new adendums to dress codes stating non non naturally occuring hair, no facial piercings no visible tatoos and so on. So I never dyed my hair.. I understand first impressions....  So I dyed it... RED.

To say I was judged is an understatement, to say I was treated differently from family and friends, YES.
It made me think of Chaz Bono... people just reject what they don't understand. I think the idea to boycot a show that shows someone who is strong enough to come out and show who HE is... is not a show to boycott.. maybe kids shouldn't watch it because they don't understand those types of issues yet, but boycott that is ridiculous. I know people don't like it this way.. but they don't have to like it.. I DO.  The day after I dyed it, was hard. I was very self-conscience...and I even chose to stay home from a Rachel Ray taping with a friend, because I was afraid that I would be sent home.. or not allowed on set... because of how "over the top" it was.

I know a 12 year old Texas girl that was suspended for dying her hair with a few streaks of red. The school said their dress code states it is distracting to other students. I can understand this to some degree.. but as I stated I am not working right now... so I am not in a job or school situation. IT is a constitutional right to personal expression.... and that to me means even my hair color. I do however, have to go to the school to pick up my son, and the looks, comments and people who ignore me is alarming. The same people who are so against bullying.. because a child is different, TREATED ME DIFFERENT.

Tatoos always raise eyes... and tatoos have a very curious history. In the 1850-1900 tatoos were for carnival people and circus workers. In the 1900-1950;s tatoos indicated a sailor or Marine. then in the early 1950's tatoos became popular with crimes, bikers and the like. In the 1960-1990 tatoos were being seen on a lot of  convicted felons. That brings us to today... people still discriminate against tatoos.. saying people who get them are low-class. I hear police officers refer to tatoo's on women as being tramp stamps..... So every women I see with a tatoo on her lower back is a tramp? I don't think so. Today, a prejudice still exists within corporate America about tatoos. I even saw an article that said," Tatoos are popular among the poor and under educated." wow!
Many peoples opinion of me has been lowered by the fact that I dyed my hair. I know I look unprofessional... but maybe everyone needs a little "silly whimsical" in there life...I can understand why some corporations have banned employees with tatoos. I know it sends a message, but is the message really:
Hi, I am a ignorant and low-income I have bad taste and I may have a criminal record.? it shouldn't?
what a bad sterotype.

Teen pregnancy has been talked about as some of the most discriminating groups in high-school. I know many of you knew about the girl who wore the "pregnancy suit" to school.. as part of a study to see how people would treat her and she was shocked. This is what I learned from the Washington Post....

Toppenish High School senior Gaby Rodriguez spent nearly her entire final year of high school conducting a social experiment that put her square in the crosshairs of criticism, rumors, and humiliation. For six and a half months, she had students and teachers   believe that she was about to become a teen mother. And Gaby recorded what was said about her and read it front of the entire school.
Only a handful of people knew about Gaby’s experiment including her mother, her boyfriend, her best friend, and the principal of the school, Trevor Greene, who also convinced the school’s superintendent to sign off on the project.
“It ‘happened’ at homecoming,” says principal Trevor Greene, making air quotes with his middle and index fingers at the word “happened.”
“In essence, she gave up her senior year,” he says. “She sacrificed her senior year to find out what it would be like to be a potential teen mom.
“I admire her courage. I admire her preparation. I give her mother a lot of credit for backing her up on this.”
But, the principal continues, “I have a daughter that will be here next year, and I would not let her do it.”
Among the people who also didn’t know about the experiment was the family of Rodriguez’s boyfriend, Jorge Orozco, whose mother thought Gaby was having a boy.
And what happened was close to what Rodriguez expected: people talked behind her back, saying disparaging things about her and her pregnancy. Things such as “Her attitude is changing, and it might be because of the baby or she was always this annoying and I never realized it.” All while she wore a belly made from wire mesh and quilt batting. (In the beginning, she just wore baggy shirts to “hide the pregnancy.”)

While she admitted that she lied to everyone for the whole school year, the reaction to her reveal was positive and she received a standing ovation. Because this was gutsy. In her research, she learned that black and Hispanic teenage girls are more likely than their white counterparts — a statistic that’s relevant for the school’s 85% Hispanic student population.
We salute you, Gaby Rodriguez. In this age of such easily accessible bullying, putting yourself in such a provocative position in the name of research makes you a brave, brave lady.
There is a book entitled Professor, May I bring my baby to class.. that talks about some of the fears, problems and worries of a teen mom. ( Title IX discrimination the federal law banning sex discrimination in public schools. 

People always have sterotypes..and I am sure some of them have put me in a different category. My son has been at the same school, last year as this year. The teachers know I am an active parent. I go to PTO meetings I fight for  my son's educational rights.. but tonight is open house... and I will sit in a small classroom with many new parents who don't know me, and they WILL judge me.. They will wonder who's child is mine... Some people might discriminate me and it might be subtle. I had a older neighbor ask me in a very serious tone, " Hey, "where you going for Ariel?" I should have asked her if she was going for "rude" but I didn't... I kept thinking I had to apology  for my hair.. make up stories about why I did it? and why, should I? One or two people commended me for having "guts' to do it.. but they might have been just saying that? Hey, maybe I was getting ready for Halloween early... (strawberry shortcake would be cute?)

* oh, so now your judging the sexiness of the costume...

So maybe you or on board, and you think people should be more accepting of others..and that hair is just that Hair, and it grows back and you can dye it back.. but maybe you still want to know why I did it? really...

Lots of reasons.. but maybe because you only live once.. and I have learned this year of a few close friends battling cancer.. and I think what is my bucket list?.. and one of the things on my bucket list was to dye my hair Rhianna red.. maybe I never grew up.. maybe I am still ever trying to reinvent myself.. or maybe I am trying still to find myself.... What did I learn from this... ? to really watch what is said by my husband and maybe even myself.. in our home around my son.. about people... and their choices and who they are...
and I learned dying your hair at home.. on an fixed income is hard.. and that NO, it did not come out as cute and sexy as I had intended... but I stuck with it... and did not run to the salon and have it "fixed". Why didn't it come out as cute as Rhianna's ...? I ask myself that everyday...I hope I won't be discriminated in the work force.. I did apply to one job.. with my hair like this... They were seeking applicants...I wonder will they not hire me based on the hair? more on that later....

but yes.. I would have loved if it came out like Rhianna's...

My own brother just asked WTF on facebook? when he saw the picture I posted. My sister never commented.. and I know why... they don't understand why I would do it? Nor do they understand me? so, whether you supported me, laughed about me... made a prejudice remark, or stereotype me tonight at open house... I still  feel like I should walk around town with a sign that says: PARDON MY APPERANCE WHILE I REMODEL....


Joanne said...

That color is tame where I grew up...New York. I think everyone is a bit taken back when they see something different on someone, but they should also wait and save those knee jerk reactions, because once you get to know the person they might be plesantly surprised. When my daughter was in pre-school there was a mom who dressed goth and wore heavy metal t-shirts and was tattoo'd. her husband was the same. our kids became fast friends and they turned out to be such a lovely couple. They were hard working and such loving parents!when they invited us to their house I imagined that there would be a Goth theme all around...boy was I wrong they had a typical surburban home and treated us to a great italian meal!Great POST!!!
Blessings, Joanne

Sean MacKenzie said...

I'm so sorry you were judged just because you have awesome hair color. :(

I guess all I can say, is take what they have to say with a grain of salt. They're probably too insecure to try something unique in their own life.

Ella said...

Wow, I can relate! I had to have back surgery, but I also needed an implant(tooth). I had to have the tooth removed before the surgery. They wouldn't operate on me. I went around with a missing eye tooth, I was treated differently and add a back brace. Yeah, I felt like I was being overhauled. I even wanted an OVERHAULED T-shirt. Brave Lisa to be different; I so admire this post. I was a bit stunned by the color, but thought it was bold n' fun. I have an olive complexion and haven't dyed my hair, yet. Okay, once a long time ago henna highlights. It looked normal till the sun shined on me. I had dark burgundy highlights. Olive gals can't change their color too much~
I admire you and this post~xox

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