‘If your hair Is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy’ : Black hair as a site of ‘post-racial’ social control in English schools

Joseph-Salisbury, R and Connelly, LJ ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9564-9106 2018, '‘If your hair Is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy’ : Black hair as a site of ‘post-racial’ social control in English schools' , Social Scienes, 7 (11) , pp. 219-231.

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Abstract

A growing body of literature examines how social control is embedded within, and enacted through, key social institutions generally, and how it impacts disproportionately upon racially minoritised people specifically. Despite this, little attention has been given to the minutiae of these forms of social control. Centring Black hair as a site of social control, and using a contemporary case study to illustrate, this article argues that it is through such forms of routine discipline that conditions of white supremacy are maintained and perpetuated. Whilst our entry into a ‘post-racial’ epoch means school policies are generally thought of as race-neutral or ‘colorblind’, we draw attention to how they (re)produce and normalise surface-level manifestations of anti-Blackness. Situating Black hair as a form of ‘racial symbolism’ and showing Black hairstyles to be significant to Black youth, we show that the governance of hair is not neutral but instead, acts as a form of social control that valorises whiteness and pathologises Blackness.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: Social Scienes
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1420-3049
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LJ Connelly
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 11:07
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2019 13:01
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/48870

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