Markeese Warner shares her account of what happened when she was told that she could not be employed with Six Flags because of her dreadlocks. The post Six Flags Says Natural Hair is Unprofessional shared information about Markeese’s Change.org petition, while this post is her one on one interview with Black Naps. I am grateful that she decided to share her story with us and offer us more insight into the incident.
How long have you been wearing your locs?
My hair has always been naturally curly and it has never experienced harsh chemicals. In October, it will officially be five years since I’ve decided to lock my hair.
What made you want to start your locs?
After troubles and near academic failure during my freshman and sophomore years, I decided to lock my hair my junior year of high school as a representation of my spiritual and professional growth. It also served as a symbol of maturity and commitment to a newly found dedication that I would have with God and school. After this dedication, I finally became serious. I landed a 3.2 at the end of my high school career and was accepted into Pennsylvania State University. In the fall, I will be going into my senior year.
Describe to me the incident that occured with Six Flags, (what did they say to you, how did they tell you etc.)?
In search of a summer job, I decided to apply to Six Flags. A week later a service representative called to inform me of the Six Flags employee policy. As part of that policy, he informed me that Six Flags has a strict policy against any extreme hairstyles such as unnatural hair color, mohawks and dreadlocks. He later asked,”Do you have any objections to this policy?” I stated, “I do have an objection because I have dreadlocks.” He later asked if I would like to continue the interviewing process. I stated that I would like to, and he proceeded to inform me of the date for an interview.
My interview was scheduled for 4:00 p.m.; I arrived at 3:45. An hour later, the interviewee (a black woman with naturally curly hair) called me to a classroom. Immediately, she informed me again of the policy and asked if I would be willing to comply. I told her that I would not be able nor willing to comply since my hair is a representation of me and my lifestyle. She then notified me that I couldn’t continue the interviewing process since I would not be willing to comply with the policy. Without any comments or concerns, I departed.
When you were told that you could not be employed because of your locs how did it make you feel?
I did not understand this at all. As an engineering student, I realized that even if I possessed a brilliant idea for constructing a roller coaster, my ideas wouldn’t be acceptable because of my hair. I felt upset and confused; I wasn’t sure if they had to right to inflict these policies or if I had every right to feel how I was feeling. At some point, I even began questioning my own individuality.
Do you think discrimination of this kind will ever end? What do you hope your petition will achieve?
I do not think discrimination of this kind will ever end because ignorance and stereotypes will always exist. With my petition however, I hope to increase awareness so that Six Flags will change this discriminating policy to create a better opportunity for everyone. With this petition, I hope that I can give other people the confidence and willpower to stand up for their rights. I want the nation to see that you can make a difference, all you need is a voice.