"A little boy was made to feel ashamed on his first day of school because of racist dress code standards in Apopka, Florida. His dad recorded the whole thing and is now speaking out.
Clinton Stanley and his son Clinton Jr., 6, were turned away from the first day of school after administrators said the boy's hair could not reach below his ears. He allegedly was told that if he didn't cut his hair, he'd miss the first day of school, the Daily Dot reports.
In the video, Clinton asks the school if he can braid his son's hair on the spot to keep it from reaching below his ears, but the school employees can be heard telling him that's still not good enough.
"Everybody's hair is at their shoulders," Clinton says in the video, referring to teachers and other staff members whose hair is clearly longer than his son's. "I respect that, but that's just not right."
In fact, the school itself shows a white boy with hair below his ears in its promotional materials.
The school employees repeatedly say in the video that they can't do anything about the rules, and critics on social media have said the same thing.
But this is why white supremacy persists: because people don't question the logic behind arbitrary rules such as this one. Would schools and workplaces consider dreadlocks to be unprofessional if they weren't associated with blackness?
“If a kid has dreadlocks, that’s your personal standard," Clinton's father told WESH 2 News. "Meaning, that’s a personal problem you haven’t overcome, because 95 percent of the kids who have dreadlocks are African American."
Ironically, the school, A Book's Christian Academy, considers itself a Christian institution.
Some people on social media have insisted that because the school is private, it's within its rights to enforce any dress code it wants. But they miss the point: the dress code is based in the racist idea that for people to be respected, they must only wear hairstyles that are associated with whiteness.
This Twitter user likens the school's issue with Clinton Jr.'s hair to any other dress code rule, like visible tattoos and open-toe shoes being banned.
But in the US, tattoos and open-toe shoes are not associated with a racial or ethnic group. They are considered mainstream and are widespread among all groups.
There is a happy ending, though: Clinton Jr. was welcomed to a new school.
Of course, critics will say Clinton Stanley only recorded and posted the video for attention — but without drawing attention to racist policies like this one, they will continue unchecked.
If kids are taught from a young age that dreadlocks are unacceptable and unprofessional, they will continue to believe it as adults. This is how racist biases are perpetuated.