The black community in Seattle, Washington is in an uproar over an eight-year old child that was removed from her school because of the oil she uses in her hair.
According to the Seattle Times, the little girl is the only black child in her advanced placement class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary.
The child’s hair oil is a popular moisturizer called Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion. Somehow, this light oil overwhelmed her teacher and she was sent out of the classroom late last month. She was moved to the hallway, then to another class. Since the incident, the girl has been home for two weeks at her parents’ behest.
According to the recent Seattle Times report, Charles Mudede, the girl’s father, said the situation escalated because no one at Thurgood Marshall Elementary or the school district would answer his questions about what happened in his daughter’s classroom – and why.
Among them: Why did the teacher think the problem was his daughter’s hair? Why hadn’t the school called the parents? How could the girl return to her own class if they didn’t first figure out what had made the teacher sick? What investigation was being done to pinpoint the source of the problem? And, finally, why did the school seem oblivious to the racial overtones of a white teacher singling out her only black student?
That lack of clarity has left the child’s parents with an eight-year-old’s version of events and concerns their daughter would be left feeling diminished, the paper said.
“The issue I had, and still hold,” Mudede said, “is there should have been a little more cultural sensitivity in this issue.”
He told the paper he has talked with his daughter about valuing the way she looks and about resisting pressures to straighten her hair with products in an effort to look more like her white classmates.
“I want her to know she’s beautiful,” he said.