hair discrimination

mycolorfulheartmycolorfulheart Posts: 158Registered Users
I live in Illinois, which has the requires the most gym classes in highschool of any state. You only got one semester off of gym for the whole 4 years of highschool. The way my school was set up, there were gym requirements (a dance class, a racket sport, etc.) One of them was a requirement for a swim class.

Now, the problem with the swim class was the chemicals--the pool was pumped full of bromine to keep it sanitary, but it dried out your skin and hair really bad. I used a hair cap, but it didn't really matter--the water and chemicals got in there anyway. Maybe if you're swimming just once a week the hair cap would help, but I was doing this every day...
I conditioned like crazy in the shower after the class. I can't imagine what would have happened to my hair if I hadn't done this! :(

My hair reacts badly if I wash it in my shower every day, even if I use a deep conditioner with it. So you can imagine what it did to my hair. 9 weeks of horrible, dry, limp, damaged hair. It got worse every day. I couldn't wait until that class was over. What angered me most at the time was that I had paid a lot of money to have my hair relaxed, and it was completely wasted because of course the pool wrecked my hair.

And this isn't even the worst! I can understand and even appreciate why the school wanted to teach us to swim; 9 weeks is excessive but I can see the reasoning. BUT the way the system was set up, swim classes were chosen through a random raffle. Whenever you got picked for swimming, you had to swim. There were people who had a whole school year of this!! In the end I got picked for swimming 4 times. I took one class, but then after that I lied to my doctor and got a doctor's note....the water 'hurt my skin.'

I see this as hair discrimination because straight-haired girls and guys are much more capable of handling the water and chemicals that we are. I was dating a straight-haired boy who took the class, and his hair got a little more fluffy, but it was still 95% the same and certainly not damaged like mine. (He didn't use conditioner either like I did.) Since when does our hair not matter? :banghead:

Did anyone else have to deal with this foolishness? If I was a parent at that school the administration would be hearing from me! Having damaged hair shouldn't be a requirement in highschool!

Comments

  • TaraDyanTaraDyan Posts: 3Registered Users
    Ohhhh yes, I can totally relate! When I was in the 8th grade, I wasn't as savvy as people are today about curly hair care (hairboards didn't exist back then). I grew up in Nebraska and we also had to have swimming as a requirement for the first quarter of our gym class. Needless to say the chlorine wreaked havoc on my hair. It eventually broke off to neck length because of it and I had to nurse it back to bra strap length (it took me 3 years to do so).

    Luckily, sites like this exist to help people with curly hair to deal with chemicals and other things that seem to destroy our hair easier than the "straighties". I'm not saying that they don't deal with the same issues. It just seems like it affects us more.
  • NayaNaya Posts: 922Registered Users
    YES, YES, YES!

    The problem as, no one understood the issue so no one really cared. they didn't see it as an actual problem, just a high school kid's petty complaint. Why? Because most people who have ethnic hair aren't sure of how to take care of it, let alone people who don't have to have anything to do with it.

    Things like that aren't taken into consideration and it sucks. I would have my parent go up there with as much information as she can find printed from online to show as proof to the principal to get it taken care of.

    Tell them you aren't trying to get out of the class but that's not a healthy option for you. Volunteer to do something else instead like write papers or something.
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  • mycolorfulheartmycolorfulheart Posts: 158Registered Users
    TaraDyan wrote: »
    O It eventually broke off to neck length because of it and I had to nurse it back to bra strap length (it took me 3 years to do so).

    That's terrible! I would be so upset if that was my hair. :(

    I agree with Naya too, I think the school just figured it was stupid teenager whining.
  • CoilyOne1812CoilyOne1812 Posts: 384Registered Users
    Required swimming sucks and having it four times over was definitely not right. But I went to a predominately black high school full of relaxed hair and we were required to swim for a few months in gym class. We just did what black women have done for years: went overboard to avoid moisture touching our hair. One girl wrapped her hair (in what some call a doobie), covered it in saran wrap, and then a Speedo cap--all in the 10 minutes or so they gave us to get dressed to hit the pool. Personally, I just wrapped and wore the Speedo; only my hairline got wet. If you know a curly that has to go through the same school system pass those tips and the drench your hair before you get in the pool tip along and they'll thank you.
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  • NayaNaya Posts: 922Registered Users
    Like the one girl created on Flava of Love, lol, she wrapped her hair, then the saran wrap, then like a doo rag, then saran wrap, then a swimming cap.
    BC: May 2008
    Hair Type:
    3C/4A mix I think
    http://members.fotki.com/RizadaMinicana
    Not Updated D:

    Vegan-ish

    s-event.png
  • mycolorfulheartmycolorfulheart Posts: 158Registered Users
    Naya wrote: »
    Like the one girl created on Flava of Love, lol, she wrapped her hair, then the saran wrap, then like a doo rag, then saran wrap, then a swimming cap.

    Lol I remember lots of girls would do that in my class, I never got the hang of it though!
  • NayaNaya Posts: 922Registered Users
    Naya wrote: »
    Like the one girl created on Flava of Love, lol, she wrapped her hair, then the saran wrap, then like a doo rag, then saran wrap, then a swimming cap.

    Lol I remember lots of girls would do that in my class, I never got the hang of it though!


    The worst is trying to get out of it! It gets all tangled and stuck to it's self and becomes almost unbreakable as the layers become smaller. Hehehehe
    BC: May 2008
    Hair Type:
    3C/4A mix I think
    http://members.fotki.com/RizadaMinicana
    Not Updated D:

    Vegan-ish

    s-event.png
  • curlee1curlee1 Posts: 48Registered Users
    I've never had to experience this. For 1 thing my school didn't hava pool [not that i knew of] and 98% of the students are black. So making swimming a requirement would have never worked out. I could only imagine the objection that would have occured.

    I hope your hair is in back to good health.
  • irishlass1029irishlass1029 Posts: 15Registered Users
    This was many (MANY) years ago when I was in HS, but I have the same hair (I am a 4a) - try being white in a predominantly white school population and trying to explain why you don't want to swim FIRST PERIOD, no less, for 6 weeks. I about got laughed out of school. No one understood and there was no way to explain it to them. It was horrible! The only thing I knew to do was put it in 2 french braids (back then, the part in the middle with a french braid on either side was "in") when I got dressed so that I didn't look like a huge frizz-ball for the rest of the day. There wasn't a site like this with information for curlies to find out what's good for their hair and what's not.

    I am 42 now and JUST finding this site and I can't tell you how thrilled I am that 1) I am not alone! and 2) there are actually products and methods that can help and a list of them to avoid.

    If I had thought about wrapping as described in the earlier posts, I would have done it!

    All these years later and the same problems still exist. I am sorry you are going through this!
  • SuburbanbushbabeSuburbanbushbabe Posts: 15,402Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I think it's great that your school as so many gym classes. Many schools don't. My sister's a regular swimmer and wraps a natural chamois on her head before the speedo swim cap. The water gets sucked in by the chamois. Your hair is still going to get wet but less so. Also saturate your hair with conditioner and/or oil before swimming.
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  • Koukla72Koukla72 Posts: 1,680Registered Users
    I think it's great that your school as so many gym classes. Many schools don't. My sister's a regular swimmer and wraps a natural chamois on her head before the speedo swim cap. The water gets sucked in by the chamois. Your hair is still going to get wet but less so. Also saturate your hair with conditioner and/or oil before swimming.

    That's interesting, I've never heard that. I swim regularly, so I'm always looking for better ways to keep the chemicals out of my hair. Does your sister find it works better if she wets her hair (or uses oils) before she puts the chamois in, or better if it's dry and then the chamois? I would think it would start to suck the moisture out of her hair if her hair's wet first, and if it were oils that would be an issue for me. Oils weigh my 2b's down too much when they're applied in large-enough quantities to protect from pool water.

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