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Local news anchor breaks ground with braids

LaToyia Edwards and her braids

LaToyia Edwards, morning anchor at NBC Boston, reports:

Big Thank You to @NBC10Boston, Parent Company @NBCUniversal and You our Viewers for supporting my decision to wear my hair in braids anchoring 4-7am here in my My beloved hometown Boston. Our station is the 1st to do it, committed to reflecting all of our City.

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Comments

She looks great! Was there really a dress code that she couldn't have braids? It is bad enough that the female newscasters are all apparently required to share the same dresses...

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Here's John Oliver's show about Black people's being discriminated against because of their hair choices. Not specific to this case, but it shows why this is a big deal.

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Yes, POC’s hair is “policed” just as is every other part of their lives.

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Gorgeous!

Can't believe this is still a big deal, but sadly, it's still a big deal.

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I could have sworn I saw a local weather reporter with them.

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just choose to believe this Black woman.

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Chill out, everything isnt a conflict

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Cancel yourself please.

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the first thing you learn watching law and order is that eyewitness testimony is unreliable.

it doesn’t have to apply here but it’s a weird joke for you to make

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The guy was talking about seeing a weather person on TV with braids and people jumped down his neck about it like he was some sort of horrible person who needs to listen to black people more and know the history of policing black women’s hair.

Gtfo with that.

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Voting closed 61

5 minutes in the misgendering corner.:0

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And I’m not even gonna joke about that one….

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but we know white men always have to be centered in these conversations so i’ll just move on.

again, i think a joke like “your memory is racist” is pretty obviously off the mark for a member of law enforcement.

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You are comparing the fate of many people in this country who have been put in prison for life and sometimes executed (based on eye witness testimony) to an internet commentators observation of the hairstyles of local meteorologists?

No I think those comments and yours are “off the mark.” Yea, my white privilege is the reason I’m not allowed to call out BS when I see it. Why don’t you go up to Johanna M. Gilbert (comment added after because she has no user name) and tell her all about what she needs to do and what she should have known.

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try engaging with the words i’m writing. nobody is comparing “the fate of many people in this country” to anything. i’m not going to rewrite my comment a third time because i think you can read.

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Eyewitness memory in law enforcement can result in wrongful imprisonment or even death.

Eyewitness memory from some random internet commentator regarding hairstyles they may have seen on tv…..? Different story.

Are you asking me if I’m aware of identification processes and the implications in regards to criminal procedure? Yes I am, but that just seems odd to being into this discussion.

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Eyewitness memory from some random internet commentator regarding hairstyles they may have seen on tv…..? Different story.

if you’re willing to make a “cancel” joke here, i think it’s fair to wonder what you would do in another situation.

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You’ve already made assumptions about my race and attitude. Make some more.

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or did i point out an off-color joke and ask a question?

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Biases around things like hairstyles do play into mistreatment in the legal system and other places, as do biases like the one shown here where a white person assumes a Black journalist doesn't understand her own situation and did no fact-checking, so she apparently needs to be whitesplained.

It does no good to say we'll be committed anti-racists when it's a matter of life or death, but the rest of the time we'll tell people they're overreacting.

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That’s not whitesplaining. Read that comment again. You are reading way too much into it.

I have no issue with your second paragraph, although I don’t think that’s true here.

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That is exactly the opposite of what you learn from watching Law and Order. Eyewitness testimony is totally perfect. How else can you investigate, solve, and prosecute a murder in 50 minutes?

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thanks, lol.

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1) referring to race as "skin color"

2) engaging in racist behavior, then when called out, asking that person why they brought race into it

3) commenting in the first place to correct a Black woman when you could have just let this be a celebratory moment for her and for Black folks that has nothing at all to do with you

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It's almost like they could be asking in disbelief because a no braid policy is stupid.

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It's almost like they could be asking in disbelief because a no braid policy is stupid.

And also, they're completely out of touch with life in America.

This is not a new or rare thing.

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That this commenter refuses to believe someone because they're black and/or a woman? Just because they expressed confusion?

People often have memories that conflict with new information -- either because of misunderstanding (past or present), the malleability of memory, or other factors. That's life! That's being human!

I'm politically aligned with you, eeka, but you need to take a chill pill here.

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My political alignment doesn't involve defending racism.

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so try again.

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I missed the part where she said there was an actual policy against braids (which is the comment that you are responding to). So someone questioning in disbelief that such a ridiculous policy did exist is not "questioning a black woman."

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talking about whether or not there was an “actual” policy – i assume by this you mean a written rule that expressly forbade braids/extensions – is nitpicking

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If you read her tweet, "it" refers to supporting her decision to wear her hair in braids.

I'm very confused as to how you are so sure there was a policy against people wearing their hair in braids. But of course, you can't back down now after jumping down someone's throat for being confused about an ambiguous tweet....

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i said it does not matter whether there was a written policy or not

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First of all, the original comment was about an "actual policy," which doesn't need to be written.

The comment/question asked if there was an actual policy. The reply implied that this was an inappropriate question because the reporter should just be believed.

But those are not exclusive statements!

The reporter said that she received support from her employer in her decision to wear braids and that her station was the first to "do it."

She did not say that her employer was the first to do away with a policy (written or unwritten) prohibiting braids. So it's a completely fair question as to whether there was in fact a policy.

Chill.

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Reading through all of this again, I think this would have been a better reply to the original comment:

It's unlikely that there was any sort of policy against braids, but it's likely that she felt pressure from her station to conform to traditional, white hair styles. She is probably expressing her relief and gratitude that when she worked up the courage to say that she preferred braids, she was met with genuine acceptance instead of pushback or faux-acceptance and career killing demotions.

But no; instead, we had someone attack the original commenter as denying the truth of a Black woman. Not helpful or constructive.

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The subject of the treatment of black people based on the hairstyles they decide to wear in professional and academic settings has been dismissed as a nonissue for many, but these recent instances aren’t isolated or new experiences. The policing of black hair has been happening for centuries.

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/a-brief-history-of-black-hair-politics-a...

https://daily.jstor.org/how-natural-black-hair-at-work-became-a-civil-ri...

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Black women TV journalists in their own words:

Black Newscasters Are Redefining What It Means to "Look Professional" On-Air

"[When I was in college] I remember [someone] specifically telling me the] look was too urban," Pringle tells Allure. "That it was not going to be versatile enough and [I would not] be able to further my career as a journalist or even get in the door. In this field, you hear a lot about what is coming your way, especially as a Black woman. And if you don't have [the] European standard of beauty of a straight bob or straight hair, you hear a lot about the possible pushback that can happen."

[Roberts] was advised to remove a clip included in her newsreel because she was wearing braids in it. As she noted in a tweet, she was told that she wouldn't get a job in broadcast news wearing the hairstyle. Last summer, she wore braids on air for the first time.

"It was ingrained in my brain that professional hair was straight," says Terry. "I learned this in school, from watching people on TV growing up, from image consultants that we have at stations that I [previously] worked in… mustering up the courage [to wear braids on air] was really hard."

But the pressures to conform to a specific standard of beauty aren't always so forthright. They are also coded within the contractual language of workplace dress codes that limit the look of professionalism for Black women as opposed to women of other races or ethnicities — further contributing to a history of oppression in which Black women are forced to sacrifice their self-expression to become more palatable. In 2019, Brittany Noble Jones, a news anchor who formerly worked at WJTV in Jackson, Mississippi, wrote a Medium piece, in which she says she was fired from her job after she wore her natural hair on air. She claims that after she had her son, she asked if she could stop straightening her hair. According to Noble Jones, she was told that her hair looked "unprofessional and the equivalent to throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store."

And viewers have endless negative comments, too. Here’s a link of a Black newscaster getting public harassment for her hair, as mentioned in the story. A viewer gripes:

Ms Woodbridge on tonight. Why doesn’t the station have a hair protocol? Her hair is not very attractive. Those braids are apart of the teenage culture and not for the professional broadcast appearance.

The same viewer continues:

No…I turned to another station when I saw you. I guess channel 3 has fired the image consultant. They need to get her back. Yes.. go home.

When Ms. Edwards is saying “HAIR FREEDOM“ in all caps and then “our station is the first to do it”, she is making explicit statements in regards to past conditions. It’s as plain as day.

If it was a mystery to you beforehand as to why a Black woman wearing a Black hairstyle on-air in a beauty-driven industry is a celebratory moment, the 3 above-linked articles have removed your ability to pretend that you don’t understand what the fuss was about.

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It's the braids for me.

Peep the color palate rhyming with the artwork.

We see you Ms. Edwards.

Flawless.

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People have different kinds of hair. Wear what you think looks best for you.

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She looks great.

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The parent company wasn't pretty much the most evil entity on the planet.

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nm

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There's still such a thing as local tv news?
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So far as "policy"... I'm sure it's a matter of reading the unwritten rules.
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What impresses me is how many people seem to think (and loudly, at that), that it's a racial issue and don't mention anything else. Have we really progressed so far as a society that we no longer have the double-standard of craggy-faced local "tv newsman" are fine (demonstrating age/experience/etc...) while the women have to look... just so?
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I'm quite (imperfectly) aware that racial bias in hairstyles is a thing and so is establishment "fitting in" and comfort levels, but really...
...the first thing that came to mind with this headline was not color but sex. There was an old Murphy Brown episode where Candice Bergen's character does their newsmagazine broadcast one week with a new hairstyle (looks a bit like John Candy's hair). Consternation ensues - distraction, negative feedback, etc... from coworkers and viewers* for this (fictional) accomplished/prominent tv reporter because of a hairstyle and she really has to push back at everyone on the ridiculousness of the reactions and "yeah, I'm going to do the broadcast this way again next week". Punchline to the bit being an end scene where she removes the "hairstyle" wig revealing her normal hair contained underneath - had done all of it to prove a point.
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* (as the characters were reading all the negative letters/faxes pouring in to the office, there was one positive review - a note reading "Love the new 'do!" from John Candy)

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The issue does involve the intersection of racism and sexism. You are correct that it is not only a racism issue, but it is still very much a racism issue.

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A Black woman sports a Black hairstyle of Black African origin and, in her tweet, tags the Boston chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists headquarters, the National Assosciation of Black Journalists Digital Task Force, Black Yuppie Boston, and BlackWomenConnect. What could this tweet possibly be about?

I don’t think it’s a racial issue, the text of Latoyia Edwards’s tweet and the subtext of who she tagged tells us unambiguously that this is about Black women’s hair and what is acceptable. This isn’t the Da Vinci Code; yes this triumph overlaps with feminism and standards of beauty of all professional women, but you have to strain awfully hard to pretend this is not primarily about Eurocentric beauty standards. Don’t think too hard when the Tweet’s author tells us exactly what this is about.

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Save your "righteous" indignation for somebody who might care.
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I'll break it down for you:
- 1. I didn't deny that it was racial or that it was primarily racial. I remarked on the strangeness of the commentary being only the racial aspect and nothing else.
- 2. I am not on twitter. I am reading a news blog, and reacting to the story here and the comments that are here - not any tags the subject of the story (or anybody else) put on another platform.
- 3. If you don't like what somebody says - either ask them about it or get on with your life. Don't strain yourself coming up with baseless assumptions and accusations.

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The tweet is the whole basis of this post. You don’t need the app or an account, you can easily click trough on your browser like I did, just like any other link to any other website linked in a UHub post. Twitter isn’t some exclusive paywalled club

Edwards’s tweet, which is even blockquoted in this very post, is explicitly about her Black hair style. It is not strange to take the tweet at face value; it is strange, though, to suggest that it is about anything else, much less an homage to a Murphy Brown episode from 30 years ago.

It strains credulity that this needs to be spelled out to allegedly literate adults.

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and this will blow your mind

it's both a race and gender issue.

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Nowhere close; let’s not pretend that it is.

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