Accra Girls SHS, Rastafari, and Black Self-Hatred

In Ghana, Basic and Secondary Schools require everyone whether boy or girl to have a short close-cropped hair. This is the sense one gets from the prevailing conditions in Ghanaian primary and secondary education. However, the former boss of Ghana Education Service said categorically that this was basically a norm and a not a hard and fast rule. However much a norm this is and not a rule, teachers and school administrators torment Ghanaian students with arbitrary hair lengths and humiliating assaults on students who supposedly fall foul of these rules. I remember teachers in both primary and secondary school mutilating the hair of students and humiliating them during morning assembly because their hair was an inch longer than the arbitrarily set hair length.

I have to confess, I never liked this norm turned rule, but I completely understand the logic behind it. Just like Uniforms, this rule ensures that school children have fewer distractions in their lives so they focus on what is important: learning. It allows for less unnecessary competition among students so a guy like me who came from a poor home had the same visage (more or less) as someone from a rich home. Other than shoes, there’s little to distinguish between rich and poor kids in our schools.

So I understand it even though I don’t support it entirely. I don’t support it entirely because I think we emphasize conformity too much in our kids that it doesn’t breed enough entrepreneurship in our youth and these uniform and hair rules are just part of the overemphasis we have on our kids. But also I think the negative impact of non-uniforms is overblown as there are countries such as Germany, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States without this rule who do better in the education sector than Ghana. An alternative to school uniforms in some of these jurisdictions is basic dress code with clear guidelines about the kinds of dress that are not allowed. Similar to these flexible dress codes is a flexible policy on hair. Instead of telling students to cut their hair, schools tend to have a policy of hairstyles that are not allowed. Sometimes extravagant and ultra elaborate hairstyles are proscribed. But nowhere do they demand that students completely cut their hair to a point where their scalps are shown as is the case in Ghana.

But what is more heartbreaking about this rule-not-rule close-cropped hair in Ghana is that, with a sizeable foreign student population, only black kids have to obey it in our schools.  

I remember going to Achimota in 2006 and seeing white kids with long hair whereas all the black kids had short close-cropped hair. We are a sick people. We are sick because we inherently believe in our inferiority. Slavery and colonialism has messed up our psyche so bad that I’m not sure we’re ever going to get out of it. I hope we can, but things happening in Ghana keep telling to temper my expectations.

This week, a student whose parents are Rastafari was told she must cut her locks or she’d be denied admission to one of the most prestigious girls’ schools in Ghana — Accra Girls Senior High School. According to the father, his daughter was actually denied admission to the school and the headmistress refused to see him or hear his pleas. The school’s response is even more sickening. According to Joy FM, the school said it was a lie and that the kid had been admitted and that they “have had situations where light-skinned students from foreign countries are in the school who have not got their hair cut and nobody goes about worrying them.” I almost puked reading this sentence coming from a black person. We need serious psychological help.

So to refute the father’s claim, the school official decided to out the school as a psychologically bankrupt institution where preferential treatment is meted out to foreign and light-skinned students! Why do we have uncouth and poisonous people educating our children?

Why would a Ghanaian school administrator start teaching our kids that white kids are special and they are not? If for nothing, wouldn’t the excuses of conformity still apply in the white kids’ case? No wonder we still churning out children with a colonial mentality and white worship mentality. These sick school administrators with 18th-century mentality are downloading their fucked up mentality in our children.

Sometimes people often wonder why sometimes you have white people who go to Africa and stay there for years but are still racist and bigots. This right here is one of the reasons. In and around every corner of the continent, white people get treated specially. These school administrators aren’t alone in this kind of psychological poisoning of our population. Go to our banks. Go to our restaurants. Go to any place where there’s a cue. I have always found it amazing in Ghana, in our banks, there are lines dedicated to foreigners. And in the banks where there aren’t, tellers blatantly ask white people in line to skip over others and be served before everyone else. A few times I have observed some decent white people decline this despicable act but more often than not, shamelessly many of them voraciously accept this obscenity.

But back to our children. I have no hope left for the adult population. They worship white skin and there’s little we can do to change it. I, however, can’t stand down while they poison our future. The Ghana education service must sanction any school found to be giving preferential treatment to foreign and white kids. Unless in the case of the Rastafari who’s hair is for religious purposes, every student must conform to the standard all our kids are made to conform to. In my own estimation, the policy of uniforms is important but unnecessary. If a school wants to keep it, I am not the kind to argue that they must end it. I otherwise strongly object to the hair policy. Africans have hair.

Our hair can grow long just as anyone’s hair anywhere in the world. Forcing our kids to go bald in school appears more of a military routine tactic than bringing up our kids with proper education. If we want to keep those policies there anyway, we must ensure that every child in our schools obeys the same rules barring any religious accommodation like in the case of the Rastafari. White hair isn’t in itself a special case. Their white skin certainly isn’t a special case. Neither is the light-skin of other foreign students a special case. And we certainly must desist from making our children think for even a second that their black skin makes them any less to white or light-skinned kids.

 

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