Recently, my husband took my daughter to get her hair cut at a local salon that caters to African American hair. My daughter is bi racial and we are a mixed family. My daughter was scheduled to get her hair done at 11:30 that morning, and I had been told on the phone by the salon owner that the only appointment scheduled before my daughter was a person getting dreads. When my husband, daughter and her friend arrived at the salon, the appointment before my daughters was just finishing up. My daughter was checked in and my husband was met with the question, “why do you want to cut her hair anyways, it’s fine.” This coming after the 15 minute conversation I had with the same woman over the phone about the fact that my daughters ends were severely split and she had trouble taking care of her hair, therefore we wanted a short, age appropriate style that she could maintain herself. I also spent time during that conversation confiding into the owner/stylist how much trouble we have had finding a stylist that knows how to work with my daughters hair and told her several times how much I appreciated the time she was taking on the phone with me, even texting her pictures of our daughter so she knew what to expect of her hair and the style we wanted to get for her. I ended that phone conversation feeling happy and confident, based on the time spent on the phone and the great Yelp reviews of the salon, that I had found a place that would take care of our daughter.
Once my husband and daughter arrived at the salon, that all changed. My husband says that she salon was plastered with “Black Lives Matter” posters and the vibe he got from the owner/stylist in person was completely different than what I had described having over the phone. They were treated coldly and as if they weren’t there. After the client getting dreads was finished, nearly thirty minutes after my daughters scheduled time, the stylist ignored her and took a walk-in instead. When my husband asked why she didn’t take my daughter he was told, “oh yeah, I’ll get to her.” This client ended up getting extensions and while she was processing, the stylist started in on the woman’s friends extensions as well, again telling my husband, “I’ll get to her.” At 1:00, an hour and a half after my daughters scheduled appointment, the stylist took yet another customer into her chair, leaving my daughter waiting. At that point my husband, who was obviously mad at this point, told the stylist they were leaving and was met with a short, “sorry.” No real apology, no taking my blame for making them wait for an hour and a half for nothing. Nothing was said about the fact that the stylist knew we lived 45 minutes from the salon. Nothing was offered to make up for the mistake. And worst of all, nothing at all was said to my daughter. All interactions were directed towards my husband, in fact, the entire time they sat there, my daughter was never once acknowledged, let alone spoken to.
I happened to be at a different salon that day and when I told them what happened, the reccommended a local stylist. After my appointment, I contacted the salon and was scheduled in with the reccomended stylist the next day. My daughter and I arrived and her appointment started right on time. During our visit with her new stylist, I told him what had happened the day before, and he told me, apologetically, “you don’t know how many times I’ve heard that same story from clients who went to salons in that area of town. They don’t want to service people who are mixed.” I knew that was what had happened, but until I heard the words it didn’t really sink in.
My first reaction was to call the salon and talk them about what happened. My second thought was, “forget that courtesy” I’m going straight to the Better Business Bureau. Then there was a part of me that wanted to write a Letter to the Editor calling the salon out. If this situation were reversed and a person of mixed race was treated this way at a salon owned by white people, the story would be on the nightly news and the salon would be being sued. In fact, I read a story about a black woman who sued a salon owned by white people because they didn’t provide her services stating they didn’t have any stylist available who knew how to do her hair. Sure, the owners of the salon didn’t say the “didn’t know how to do” my daughters hair or that they didn’t want to. They just refused to provide her service period and I am quite confident it wasn’t because they suddenly got busy and forgot she had an appointment.
Every day, I hear about the Black Lives Matter movement. I read stories about Race Wars and hate crimes. There are stories about Muslims being killed because they are Muslims. There is the Blue Lives Matter movement. There are terrorist attacks. The list goes on and every story plays off the race angle.
You know whose lives matters? Every single persons life in this world matters. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, what race you are, what religious group you belong to, what gender you are, YOUR LIFE MATTERS and it doesn’t matter more than the persons next you. Let’s move past the one color movements and make a shift towards a movement that treats everyone equally, because,
ALL LIVES MATTER!!!