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Multiracial Student Balks After Being Told To Straighten And Dye Her Hair For A Team Photo

MoMo Productions/GettyImages

Being a team player is an admirable trait as long as it serves a common goal, and it should not make a person feel like they are making a sacrifice to benefit the team.

That’s how one multiracial student felt when she refused to go along with a plan concocted by her  White teammates in preparation for a college project.

After being given an accusation she thought was extremely unfair, Redditor moanaleesah visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for refusing to straighten and dye my hair for a team photo?”

The Original Poster (OP) wrote:

“I’m a college student and currently working on a project with three other girls. I’m not going to give away too many details but we were selected to represent the college and this is a pretty significant challenge we’re taking on.”

“So in preparation for our showcase we’ve made a website and the idea was to put up a ‘meet the team’ photo.”

“The other day we were discussing the photoshoot and the girls basically told me that I’d have to dye and straighten my hair for the photo.”

“For some context I’m multiracial and the other girls are all white. They’re blondes whereas I have thick, curly 3C hair (and lots of it – I’m pretty small, and it goes down my back- it’s probably the first feature people notice).”

“They claimed that it’s better to have a uniform look and that this project is about our work and skills, not looks.”

“They basically asked me to dye my hair blonde as well as straighten it.”

“That was absolutely ridiculous and I told them there’s no way I’m going to do all of that for just a pic. They ganged up on me and accused me of being an attention seeker (?? I guess existing = seeking attention) and hard to work with.”

“There was some friction between us anyway but this incident really took it to the next level. I admit I was very hurt.”

“At first I had no idea why they came to this decision. But then I remembered a meeting we had with an interviewer and I completely admit he acted unprofessionally (starting off the conversation with complimenting my hair and focusing a little too much on me).”

“However none of that is my fault and I don’t see why I should be punished for this. I think their decision is way too extreme and unfair. AITA?”

Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

A majority of Redditors thought she was not the a**hole in the situation.

“NTA – Do not change your hair for these morons. That is absolutely ridiculous.”

“Changing your hair for a school project???? How did your project ever win with three shallow ninnies involved?” – laughingsbetter

‘They claimed that it’s better to have a uniform look and that this project is about our work and skills, not looks.’

“Then they should have no problems with you not changing your natural hair color/texture.”

“NTA, your team is though. If they keep this up I would suggest talking to the project head (I assume it’s a professor or other school official) so they can address it with these girls.” – JynxedDraca

When one of the Redditors mentioned the OP’s fellow teammates were racists, the OP wrote:

“I said that and they absolutely freaked out and accused ME of being privileged 🤦🏽‍♀️”

In response to the “being privileged” statement, Redditors said:

“…… How does having long curly beautiful hair make you privileged?? 🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️”

“Don’t dye you hair blonde (you’ll ruin it) but do bring up what they are doing to make you.”

“It’s not right no matter who you are, black, white, Asian, man, woman, alien, doesn’t matter. What they are doing is wrong.”

“They are clearly jealous of your gorgeous curls, make them extra bouncy for the photos and then the following day wear a straight blonde wig just to be a little passive aggressive lol ooooh their faces would be priceless!” – lumos_22

“She’s more privileged because she obviously has superior hair to their pale, limp tresses.”

“I’ve always loved curly hair and longed to have it, but I have the palest, limpest hair ever that won’t even hold a perm. They just don’t want her beautiful self to outshine all of them. They are racist a**holes.” – Hufflepuffknitter80

“NTA, not only is what they are asking your to do unfair and out of line, it’s also racist.”

“They are asking you to confirm to white beauty ‘norms.’ It’s like the typical micro aggression of ‘natural hair is unprofessional’ on steroids.”

“Do not give in, go to your faculty advisor, counselor, or someone in authority to back you up. I’m so sorry you’re being pressured to do this.” – design_dork

“Lol, my favorite is this sweet little nugget of hypocrisy:”

‘this project is about our work and skills, not looks. They basically asked me to dye my hair blonde as well as straighten it.’

“‘This isn’t about looks, so change the way you look.'”

“Like, I just can’t imagine what is happening in their heads that made this sound reasonable to them. And they’re chosen to represent the school? Wow.” – Justanothergamerwife

“My thought when reading this?”

“Dang, they be racist AF?”

“Good grief, I want this to be fake because it’s so horrible, but if it isn’t, good grief is OP NTA. OP please go to your advisor about this. They sound petty and jealous and are using racism to bully you.”

“Welcome to the real world, girls, where racism has professional consequences. Send them to next Tuesday and please update. This is so far past the line, you can’t even see the line!” – wildeflowers

Others suggested the teammates should conform to the OP’s dark tresses instead.

“I’m curious as to why the other girls won’t just dye their hair black and perm it. You know, for a ‘uniform look’…..🤷🏻‍♀️” – hyperfocuspocus

“NTA. If they really want to look uniform they can all get perms and dye their hair to match yours. Bet if you suggested that they would flip their sh*t, though.”

“Definitely go to your faculty about this and ask why these adult women think it’s appropriate to police someone else’s appearance, especially someone of a different race.”

“Going from a darker hair color to a lighter hair color is hard on hair, and it’s easier for straight hair to be curled than for curly hair to be straightened, so clearly the answer is that they should use temporary hair dye and small rollers.”

“Heck, if they really object, only ONE of them could dye and curl her hair, so there’s two and two! 🙄” – AlleyKatArt

Overall, Redditors were appalled by the team’s suggestion and thought the OP refusing to compromise her cultural identity for the sake of a photoshoot did not make her the a**hole.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo