Six Flags Doesn’t Hire College Student Because of Dreadlocks
10 months ago
What a person can offer a company should supersede one’s hair.
One summer day, Markeese Warner journeyed to Six Flags in her home state of Maryland for a job interview with the amusement park’s food services. Warner, 21, like most college students was looking for a summer job to make some money before returning to Pennsylvania State University in the fall for her senior year. On the day of the interview, Warner wore a black business dress, a pair of flat shoes, with her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Professional as usual for any job interview.
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But much to Warner’s disbelief, when she was called into the human resources office to be interviewed, she was told that she was in clear breach of a very strict employee policy.
The interviewer, a black woman with curly natural hair, told Warner that she could not continue the interviewing process because Six Flags Corporation has a policy against “extreme hairstyles,” which includes mohawks and, astonishingly, Warner’s dreadlocks. While Warner may have met every other requirement for the job, her hair was an apparent roadblock.
“I just smiled and I left,” Warner said. “It was mind blowing.”
Feeling defeated, Warner went back home to share what happened at Six Flags with her mother. Her mom, who also wears locks, was disturbed by the news. She decided to contact a family friend in Florida, Kwasi Abahu, about the incident. Abahu, 37, who is Rastafarian, wears dreadlocks. When he learned of Warner’s Six Flags rejection because of her hair, Abahu started a petition to bring awareness to the company’s policy, which he found to be discriminatory.
“I was kind of pissed off,” he said. “I couldn’t not react and not address it in some way.”
Abahu said he is no stranger to such rejection from employers. Having worn his dreadlocks for nearly 20 years, Abahu said his hair prevented him from securing jobs and opportunities he may have otherwise been afforded.
“When you walk through the door people see you,” he said. “Much like the Sikhs with a full beard and a turban on.”
That kind of judgement, he said, is very detrimental for those who choose to wear dreadlocks with distinct purpose. But even so, Abahu adds that what a person can offer a company should supersede one’s hair.