Archive for the ‘entrepreneurship hair tolerance’ Category

I am not my hair

April 28, 2008

Recently, I have been growing my hair out as a form of social and cultural protest. For weeks, my Ghanaian friends (mostly my students) have been telling me to cut my hair, remarking that “it’s not nice.” Saying that a haircut was for my own benefit, one of my students even attempted to provoke me by telling me that I “look horrible.”

But I don’t believe that these comments were for my own benefit. I am convinced that Ghana does not embrace diversity as much as it should – even in hairstyle. This concerns me as someone whose main purpose in Ghana is to spread the gospel of entrepreneurship – an activity that requires crazy thoughts and risk taking and tolerance of a diversity of ideas. So to spite them, and to make bare the conformist nature my friends were unwittingly succumbing to, I simply refused to cut my hair. Each week its has grown, I have received more and more suggestions to get it cut, but I simply refused.

Today, however, the laws of pragmatism and the Ghanaian heat finally defeated me and I cut my hair. It really is just too hot to have all that hair. When I returned to school, I heard many compliments and at least one person uttered, “Finally!” I have no problem keeping my hair short, sometimes (especially in extreme heat) I actually prefer it, but I take serious issue with a culture and a society that does not tolerate differences. If my students had such difficulty accepting the fact that I liked to keep my hair long, how are they going to expect the rest of Ghana to accept their forward-thinking entrepreneurial ideas?