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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 01:33am
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Officials facial hair and hair style

If you guys did'nt know im african american. But that should'nt matter. But I need to ask you guys this. I did a 16/u tournament in Columbus on saturday(My partner and I are from Cleveland). We had 6 games scheduled on saturday,and 6 on sunday. We just completed 4 games and the tournamnet director says you need to call the assignor. We called no answer so we go to where he is located. Then the assignor tells us our services are no longer needed. From what we were told its was because I wear my hair in cornrolls/braids, and my partner has a mustache and he's bald. What does this have to do with basketball? This has never been a issue for me,and the first for my partner. We read the rules about officials attire and it reads just like the rule book. I'm upset because the assignor should have had our back with this issue.I understand if we wanna "Move up" we should have a certain look. But IMO my hairstyle or partners mustache should not come into play. if a female can wear cornrolls/braids why cant a man? Like I said this hasnever been a issue and it almost seems like the "good ol boy" system. Any input you guys can give would be great. Thanks!
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 01:49am
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I have never agreed with the constraints which some people strive to impose upon others in the officiating world. However, just about all of this operates via independent contractor status. So if you wish to work for someone, then you need to adhere to the desires and standards of the person doing the hiring. If not, then they don't have to hire you.

My standards would simply be that the individual's hairstyle exhibits proper cleanliness, isn't offensive, and does not pose a safety issue. I don't believe that anything else would be defensible.
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 02:01am
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Nevada, I totally agree! Honestly it hurts more because it seemed like a personal attack.If it would have been about a poor job officiating fine.If the director would have said he doesnt want officials with braids I understand. Just kinda ticks me off...
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 05:57am
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The Military isn't an independent contractor!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevadaref View Post
I have never agreed with the constraints which some people strive to impose upon others in the officiating world. However, just about all of this operates via independent contractor status. So if you wish to work for someone, then you need to adhere to the desires and standards of the person doing the hiring. If not, then they don't have to hire you.

My standards would simply be that the individual's hairstyle exhibits proper cleanliness, isn't offensive, and does not pose a safety issue. I don't believe that anything else would be defensible.
Agree Nevada.

As a military person, when I first joined the service back in the 80's, the rules were: don't part your hair in the middle, no facial hair, no sideburns, and your hair should be tapered in the back - not blocked. Was it written anywhere? No. It was unspoken (yet known). If you wanted to move forward - blend in and don't rock the boat. Period. Or suffer the consequences.

Did some not conform? Sure. Did some make it even though, they didn't conform? Sure. What does it say about their performance? Probably not much (similar to what the OP points out). Should it be THE discriminator as it supposedly was in this case? Of course not.

In my association we have a few, not many, with facial hair. They seem to have done pretty well.

PS - Recently, photos surfaced of me in on the web from my very early military days........mustache and all! Hey, we'd just come back from the field leave me alone!
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 06:18am
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It's Not The Beard ...

... It's the uniform.

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 06:22am
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No Problem With These Cornrows ???

I believe that ten out of ten Forum members would agree that we like this hairstyle:

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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 06:23am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMac View Post
I believe that ten out of ten Forum members would agree that we like this hairstyle:

What hairstyle?
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 07:03am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEohioref View Post
If you guys did'nt know im african american. But that should'nt matter. But I need to ask you guys this. I did a 16/u tournament in Columbus on saturday(My partner and I are from Cleveland). We had 6 games scheduled on saturday,and 6 on sunday. We just completed 4 games and the tournamnet director says you need to call the assignor. We called no answer so we go to where he is located. Then the assignor tells us our services are no longer needed. From what we were told its was because I wear my hair in cornrolls/braids, and my partner has a mustache and he's bald. What does this have to do with basketball? This has never been a issue for me,and the first for my partner. We read the rules about officials attire and it reads just like the rule book. I'm upset because the assignor should have had our back with this issue.I understand if we wanna "Move up" we should have a certain look. But IMO my hairstyle or partners mustache should not come into play. if a female can wear cornrolls/braids why cant a man? Like I said this hasnever been a issue and it almost seems like the "good ol boy" system. Any input you guys can give would be great. Thanks!
I'm an assignor.

If that's the reason that both of you were taken off games, then that's just ridiculous imo. If you're neat, clean and presentable, there's no reason either of you should have been replaced for your appearance imo. Your hair style should have the same relevance as your color--->none.

And I don't know any other assignors that feel any differently than me either, fwiw.

I know you have to be highly frustrated over this...and I don't blame you one bit....but hang in there and don't let it get you down. We don't need to lose good officials over crap like this.
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 09:34am
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You said, "From what we were told..." it was your hair choices that led to your expulsion. Sounds like you've made an inference.

So what were you told, and who told you?
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 09:58am
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I'm not African American, but I am black (don't get me started on that) and I have experienced what the OP is talking about. On the west coast, I was criticized for being a "bald angry black man." I moved to the east coast and nobody said a word about it. I moved back to the west coast and haven't heard it at all. I don't know if I'm slowly shedding my military bearing or it just doesn't matter anymore.

After 20 years in the military, where a fade (tapered) haircut was once considered faddish for black guys, I can tell you that you are going to have problems with the corn rows. You will be viewed in the same light as a rapper/actor/athlete/thug/gangster. I hate to say this and I hate this saying, but it is what it is.
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 10:03am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomegun View Post
I'm not African American, but I am black (don't get me started on that) and I have experienced what the OP is talking about. On the west coast, I was criticized for being a "bald angry black man." I moved to the east coast and nobody said a word about it. I moved back to the west coast and haven't heard it at all. I don't know if I'm slowly shedding my military bearing or it just doesn't matter anymore.

After 20 years in the military, where a fade (tapered) haircut was once considered faddish for black guys, I can tell you that you are going to have problems with the corn rows. You will be viewed in the same light as a rapper/actor/athlete/thug/gangster. I hate to say this and I hate this saying, but it is what it is.
But being told your service isn't required after 4 games? This must be an assigner for the tourney and not an officials association, cause I can't imagine any real assigner pulling this crap.

And I read it more as "we don't like these guys -- we need a reason to get rid of them -- they call too much, they call not enough, we don't like black people -- for whatever reason."

I doubt I'd leave without making an effort to get paid, either. This is why all assignments should have contracts attached to them.
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 10:10am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomegun View Post
I'm not African American, but I am black (don't get me started on that) and I have experienced what the OP is talking about. On the west coast, I was criticized for being a "bald angry black man." I moved to the east coast and nobody said a word about it. I moved back to the west coast and haven't heard it at all. I don't know if I'm slowly shedding my military bearing or it just doesn't matter anymore.

After 20 years in the military, where a fade (tapered) haircut was once considered faddish for black guys, I can tell you that you are going to have problems with the corn rows. You will be viewed in the same light as a rapper/actor/athlete/thug/gangster. I hate to say this and I hate this saying, but it is what it is.
Ha, I know plenty of bald, angry, white guys.

You're right about the perception of course and the only way IMHO to overcome that is to be 110% professional. Make the crowd/person admit to themselves that they prejudged you and they were wrong.

It has to be tough. The white official is 'quiet' and the black one is labeled 'angry or surly'.

We have a black ref in our area, a new young guy, with dreads. I know it's going to be tough for him to move up.

It's hard fighting first impressions.

That said, the assigner who took those games back is gutless.

Last edited by fullor30; Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 10:13am.
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 10:30am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullor30 View Post
Ha, I know plenty of bald, angry, white guys.

You're right about the perception of course and the only way IMHO to overcome that is to be 110% professional. Make the crowd/person admit to themselves that they prejudged you and they were wrong.

It has to be tough. The white official is 'quiet' and the black one is labeled 'angry or surly'.

We have a black ref in our area, a new young guy, with dreads. I know it's going to be tough for him to move up.

It's hard fighting first impressions.

That said, the assigner who took those games back is gutless.
I would hope there would be a desire on the part of any assignor that is turly interested in developing young and/or new officials to have a sincere conversation(s) to help set expectations and give helpful tips for ways to improve as an individual and advance.

I'll share a related experience: My daughter played YMCA league hoops a couple years back. Most everything about that league was inconsistent with the exception of a young, black official who sported corn rows. I'll never forget the first time I saw him when we entered the gym that season. It was like..."OK, this might be interesting". I volunteered to run the book or clock, whatever, and got to know him. He cared about doing a great job for the kids and had an excellent attitude and disposition. In fact, he did a great job of helping mentor newer partners (that looked more "the part") as the season progressed.

Sometimes looks can be a red flag. Sometimes they mean relatively nothing....which was my experience with the YMCA official. He's going to have a fun career if he sticks with it.

Last edited by DLH17; Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 10:37am.
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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 11:28am
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First let me say I am African-American and Black. You can be both or one or the other depending on your ethnic background.

Let me say that no matter how you slice it, we still live in a relatively conservative society. Even though we are not shocked that someone shows some individuality, it is not accepted in all walks of life. I for a brief time had braids while I was in college back in the day. I did so because I did not work in a profession that required a certain look. Before I left school and before I became an official that changed. I would never today wear dreadlocks or have braids of any kind. Right or wrong I also have enough to overcome in perception that makes people think one more thing of me negatively that I can control. I cannot control my race or my ethnicity, but I can control my hairstyle and the tattoos or markings I have on my body. And if you look at most officials, they look a certain way and do you have a metal band hair cut or even look like the players with their hairstyles and tattoos. I do not see coaches that are African-American and Black wearing these things, so why should I? We are in positions of authority and people want those individuals to look a certain way or not be threatening. That does not mean that I do not have to overcome the "Angry Black Man" stereotype. But I am not going to add to that by what by looking like Lil Wayne either.

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Old Mon Mar 29, 2010, 11:32am
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For what it's worth, one of the more respected officials on our board, and a recent board president, has a neatly trimmed moustache. As long as I've known him, he always has. I've never seen cornrolls on an official, but I'm in Maine. We don't know cornrolls from cornbread.

NEOhio, if an assigner has a problem with the way you look (hair, tattoos, fat, whatever), you should be told up front and in advance. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned independent contractor status, an assigner doesn't have to tell you anything. That doesn't mean, however, that you have to forget that to have accept being treated less-than-honestly.

Could there be another issue that they're not telling you? Maybe, but it's unlikely you're going to know the truth. Some just don't care enough to give honest feedback, or they'll find a more convenient reason to get rid of you. Truth be told, this is all speculation.

The best you can take out of this is to be aware that there are people who won't be as up front as you like, and in the long run, the cornrolls could very well be a hindrance that no-one will bother to tell you about, as long as they have someone else to officiate.
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