Hampton University’s Old Story Resurfaces

Journal-isms: Hampton University's hair controversy may be old news, but it still touches a nerve.


Sites Recycle “No-Dreadlocks” News From 2001

For the last few days, the Internet has had its own version of the telephone game, in which a story is repeated from one person to the next and the version that reaches last person is completely different from the original.

In this case, the story was about Hampton University and hair.

Hampton University Business School Bans Locks, Cornrows,” read the headline Friday on blackamericaweb.com.

Hampton U Dean Bans Cornrows and Dreadlocks: ‘Martin Luther King Didn’t Wear It,’ ” said Gawker.com

Hampton University Business School dean stands by ban on dreadlocks, cornrows,” was the headline on theGrio.com.

It was enough to generate volumes of comments on social media and even on talk radio, and it was featured prominently on websites. TheLoop21.com ran a reader poll: “HBCU Hampton University bans male business students from rocking braids and locs because they aren’t ‘businesslike.’ Is the school right? The tally was “right on,” 23; “dead wrong,” 44.

You’d think this was a development that came down the pike this week. But all that passion was directed at a policy that had been in place since 2001. It’s just that some writers and editors apparently didn’t know that.

Some stories did note the date of the policy, though in some cases it was deep in the story. Many left the date out, just as some would in the telephone game.