People have been using hairstyles as a way to convey their personality, religious beliefs, or culture for centuries, if not longer. They are an important expression of who we are and where we come from.
Forcing people into other haircuts has also long been a form of oppression. The 60s had the infamous long hair trend and the divide that that caused. No wonder the George Thorougood song "Get a hair cut, and get a real job" has lived on for so long.
Sadly, this form of discrimination lives on today. From forcing people to get the same cuts, to just flat out shaving hair, forced haircuts are alive and well.
The most recent example is drawing a lot of criticism for the New Jersey school system.
A black wrestler was about to compete for his high school when a white referee, Alan Maloney, stepped in and told him to cut his hair, or forfeit the match. The wrestler sported long dreadlocks and had them protected in a hair covering.
Epitome of a team player ⬇️— Mike Frankel (@MikeFrankelSNJ) December 20, 2018
A referee wouldn't allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks. It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win. pic.twitter.com/f6JidKNKoI
The rule book is clear on the issue of hair.
"If the hair in its natural state is longer than allowed by rule, then it must be contained in a legal hair cover," says the National Federation of State High School Associations.
That means the referee clearly overstepped his authority in ordering the haircut. The match was an important one for the wrestler and his team. He's clearly upset in receiving the cut, which shows how much he cared about his teammates.
You can see them consoling him as his hair is sheared.
The wrestler, Andrew Johnson, dominated the match, but even in victory he's still clearly upset.
To make matters worse, it's been revealed that the referee has a history of racial discrimination. At a party in 2016 he was involved in a fight after using a racial slur.
The referee has apologized to Johnson and was ordered to attend racial sensitivity training.