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Hairdressing Apartheid

By madjimmy 13 May 2013 73

I was in Civic today looking for a somewhere to get a haircut. I saw a sign for “Hair in the City” at Centrepoint. I walked up the stairs, however they were fully booked. I noticed another small hairdressing salon called “The African Look” also on the first floor of Centrepoint.

It was empty. Admittedly I wasn’t after an African look but how hard can it be to cut a “short, back and sides”. I wandered in and asked if I could get a haircut. The lady politely told me, “I don’t cut Caucasian people’s hair, you will have to go across to Hair in the City”.

Unfortunately I am a white man.

I ended up getting a haircut at Christies (near Gus’s Café). It seems Christies will cut your hair no matter what colour you are.

What’s Your opinion?


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Hairdressing Apartheid
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DrDrevina 12:37 pm 12 Oct 15

Based on the majority of comments here, it is evident that most have no clue what African hairdressing entails. Very little if at all relates to cutting hair and it doesn’t correlate to what happens to caucasian hair at a hairdresser.

As a mixed race woman with a white mother and black father and completely African hair, I can advise that no other hairdresser is able to treat my hair – they aren’t trained to. And Vice Versa, some trained to handle African hair isn’t likely to be trained how to handle Caucasian or Asian hair. I don’t attend an African Hairdresser to have my hair cut – quite the opposite…

Here are some links to help dispel misunderstanding:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWLWd4ixwRA
https://theconversation.com/untangling-the-knotty-politics-of-african-womens-hair-48252
http://madamenoire.com/79054/7-things-white-people-dont-understand-about-black-hair/

AminOZ 4:38 pm 14 Oct 14

As a black American female in Australia I can guarantee that Hair in the City, and any other big name hair stylist in the city cannot do my hair. I sucks for me but it’s not something they’re trained and for some, care to be trained on. They might have some more tact, but they refer me to this place when I inquire…for a reason.

This post is so frustrating and is a blatant example of the exercise of privilege. He probably went in there to get a response, or to make people uncomfortable; just as uncomfortable as I KNOW I would make hairdressers if I were to walk into a ‘normal’ (meaning catering to straighter textures) salon with my tight kinky curls.

Squidward 11:50 pm 15 May 13

White male here, curly hair. In my youth I went though a phase of having cornrows (not my best look i will admit) but always got my cornrows done at the African Look, no problem whatsoever.

rosscoact 7:03 pm 15 May 13

Not too many looks worse that the caucasian cornrow or dreads

frg1978 5:37 pm 15 May 13

frg1978 said :

p1 said :

frg1978 said :

Whatever phrase was used the law allows for this kind of discrimination if reasonable.

WTF No!

The law allows a business to not provide a service for any number of reasons. Such as, for example, that they don’t know how (had they said “sorry, I don’t know how to cut your hair, it is different from what I am used to) – this is the electrician/plumber analogy from earlier.

The law specifically says you can’t exclude someone “by reason of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of that other person or of any relative or associate of that other person”. Since that was the stated reason given by the proprietor….
Your argument seems to be the person didn’t mean to be racist. Which is very likely true. But it doesn’t mean it wasn’t.

Um no read my argument again. It was that the law allows for exceptions to the rule of exclusion on the grounds of race, sex, whatever where there is a valid reason for doing so. I would say that whilst obviously an unpopular decision to the hopefully few people in Canberra who seem to have such an entitlement mentality that having ONE hairdresser who specialises in a type hair that THEY DONT POSSESS offends their sense of fairness and justice so much that they want to insist their hair be cut there anyway, there was a valid reason for excluding this man on the grounds of race.

The most likely reason being that they do not do caucasian people because they are actually only trained in hair braiding of African hair.

frg1978 5:32 pm 15 May 13

p1 said :

frg1978 said :

Whatever phrase was used the law allows for this kind of discrimination if reasonable.

WTF No!

The law allows a business to not provide a service for any number of reasons. Such as, for example, that they don’t know how (had they said “sorry, I don’t know how to cut your hair, it is different from what I am used to) – this is the electrician/plumber analogy from earlier.

The law specifically says you can’t exclude someone “by reason of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of that other person or of any relative or associate of that other person”. Since that was the stated reason given by the proprietor….
Your argument seems to be the person didn’t mean to be racist. Which is very likely true. But it doesn’t mean it wasn’t.

Um no read my argument again. It was that the law allows for exceptions to the rule of exclusion on the grounds of race, sex, whatever where there is a valid reason for doing so. I would say that whilst obviously an unpopular decision to the hopefully few people in Canberra who seem to have such an entitlement mentality that having ONE hairdresser who specialises in a type hair that THEY DONT POSSESS offends their sense of fairness and justice so much that they want to insist their hair be cut there anyway, there was a valid reason for excluding this man on the grounds of race.

rosscoact 4:38 pm 15 May 13

urchin said :

rosscoact said :

I own a business and if I don’t want to do work for you I won’t.

That’s why I own the business. Heaven help us when a self employed person cannot decide who they want or don’t want to do business with.

Well the law doesn’t allow you that luxury so I guess you had better ask heaven for its help. Imagine, people being forced to not discriminate against customers on the basis of racial background! what *is* australia coming to?

ah, yes it does. I decide who I take jobs from, always have always will.

I’ve never refused a job because of the person’s race but I have knocked back a few from knuckleheads. And yes I do actively discriminate against knuckleheads.

Jim Jones 3:44 pm 15 May 13

I’m loving all the white, middle-class dudes going all Alan Jones at the mouth cause THE NASTY AFRICAN LADY WAS RACIST TO ME!!!

p1 2:42 pm 15 May 13

frg1978 said :

Whatever phrase was used the law allows for this kind of discrimination if reasonable.

WTF No!

The law allows a business to not provide a service for any number of reasons. Such as, for example, that they don’t know how (had they said “sorry, I don’t know how to cut your hair, it is different from what I am used to) – this is the electrician/plumber analogy from earlier.

The law specifically says you can’t exclude someone “by reason of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of that other person or of any relative or associate of that other person”. Since that was the stated reason given by the proprietor….

Your argument seems to be the person didn’t mean to be racist. Which is very likely true. But it doesn’t mean it wasn’t.

frg1978 12:33 pm 15 May 13

p1 said :

frg1978 said :

Bearing in mind we have no way of knowing exactly what phrase she used to turn this man away…

So, your reasoning for why the original post does not describe a racist situation, is that the original post is not genuinely describing what happened? Really?

Lets, for the sake of argument, say that what happened is describe in the original post happened, exactly as described. Do you think what was said constitutes refusal of service on the basis of race?

Whatever phrase was used the law allows for this kind of discrimination if reasonable. The salon caters for African hair. He wasn’t African. End of story i would imagine for a reasonable person.
Although the op obviously isn’t reasonable or he most likely wouldn’t have gone to the African Look salon to begin with having regard for the name of the shop.
I reiterate the points in my initial comments again about the salons in question having a lucky escape from having a client like this.

p1 11:53 am 15 May 13

frg1978 said :

Bearing in mind we have no way of knowing exactly what phrase she used to turn this man away…

So, your reasoning for why the original post does not describe a racist situation, is that the original post is not genuinely describing what happened? Really?

Lets, for the sake of argument, say that what happened is describe in the original post happened, exactly as described. Do you think what was said constitutes refusal of service on the basis of race?

thebrownstreak69 11:35 am 15 May 13

frg1978 said :

So restaurants that specialise in preparing food from certain countries or parts of the world are also being racist?

It depends entirely on who they are prepared to serve. If I walk into an Ethiopian restuarant, and seated and offered menu, then no problems. But what if I walk into an Italian restuarant and are told “sorry, you aren’t Italian, we won’t serve you”?

urchin 11:23 am 15 May 13

frg1978 said :

thebrownstreak69 said :

frg1978 said :

milkman said :

frg1978 said :

It really sounds like Hair in the City were lucky to escape a client like you. What a boring, insular little world you must live in if the experience of being refused a hair cut by a hairdresser who is trained in Affrican hair – something you apparently do not have as a caucasion) – not only upsets you, but qualifies for a public rant on The Riot Act.
Get a life mate.

So racism is ok with you. Got it.

I think you (and all of those who have commented along similar lines) are very likely the racist ones in this and not just really concerned about equality as you pretend to be. How many other hairdressers in Canberra are there who are perfectly happy to cut your “caucasian” hair and are also probably specialists in boring caucasian hair cuts. And yet as an apparent white supremacist, you walk into the one salon who caters to a minority group who has very specialised requirements when it comes to hair cutting, and cry discrimination when they don’t want to lower themselves to a “short back and sides” despite possibly not being trained to do this. But how hard can it be, you cried? mate, If it is so easy to do, why not a. do it yourself; or b. get a completely untrained friend or relative to cut your hair and save yourself some cash which you could then spend on feathers and tar.
Seriously, it is like going into a vegetarian restaurant and demanding they cook you a steak and pleading discrimination against meat eaters if they refuse.

Wow. Defending racism. Stay classy.

Bearing in mind we have no way of knowing exactly what phrase she used to turn this man away (who by his own admission was not after an African look despite that being the name of the shop), should not common sense prevail? After all, this was post was written some time after the occurrence of the actual event. And no doubt our OP was getting himself worked up in the meantime at the whole indignity of being refused service for being a white man, stress of course being linked to changes in memory recall.
Would it be racism if she had said she does not cut Caucasian hair? A difference of merely one word?

Perhaps you need to reread original post. in particular the point where he writes “The lady politely told me, “I don’t cut Caucasian people’s hair, you will have to go across to Hair in the City”.”

So yeah, that’s kind of that, isn’t it?

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