From Black Voices —  Two women are outraged after they say they were denied jobs at Six Flags because of their dreadlocks in Largo, Md., an area with a 93 percent African-American population.

Twenty-three-year-old Janet Bello (pictured above left) says when she applied for a part-time job at Six Flags in Largo, she was told her “locks” hairstyle disqualified her from employment.

She says a supervisor told her management is adhering strictly this year to a years-old corporate grooming policy that considers dreadlocks to be an extreme hairstyle. Bello considers the characterization to be offensive:

“I think it’s outrageous, and I really think it’s sad…. I think Six Flags can literally (excuse my french) go to hell.”

ABC 7 News obtained a copy of Six Flags’ grooming standards for employees that states that the company does not permit “any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags’ theme.”

Not sure what the Six Flags’ theme is or how dreadlocks could detract or not detract from that theme.

A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union believes that defining locked hair as inherently unprofessional is racially insensitive at best — and potentially discriminatory at worst.

Sixty-year-old Jackie Sherrill (pictured above right) says she worked at Six Flags last summer and received a letter earlier this year asking her to come back. She says when a supervisor saw that Sherrill had locks, though, she was told she would not be welcome back unless she changed her appearance — despite the fact that she had the same hairstyle last year.  (Continue Reading @ Black Voices)

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  • 2cents

    In previous years, cornrows and afros were deemed unacceptable. Now they are fine in business. This reminds of when black people would could order food at restaurants, but had to eat it outside by the kitchen since they thought black customer’s would detract from their clientele. Maybe in a few years we will look back and laugh at the vestiges of Jim Crow Jr. At times I prefer the Bull Connor types, at least I know whats up.

  • I have to say I’m also shocked by the comments finding it acceptable that Six Flags can take this stand. I’m a recently locked woman working in the tourism industry. I dress nice, I speak well, I’m upbeat and bubbly all for the job. I think my locks are well-groomed and not some wild hairstyle that offends guests. I don’t feel that I’m looked at as any differently than the people around me. As long as I have good service that’s all that matters.
    I think that if these two women have the skills, than why not let them onto your team? How is fair to exclude well-qualified individuals based on their looks? I mean, I have friends who are tattooed all over but when they go into work, they know long sleeves are the way to go. Those who are pierced, know to take it out before heading into their jobs. But for someone who has locked hair (and probably has had it for a long time) to simply hide it, isn’t so easy. Are you asking us to shave it off because, mind you, that’s against your policy too. Are you asking us to go through the hard work of spending hours conditioning and combing our dreads out, because that would leave are hair pretty damaged and looking worse for the job than it did before.
    How about being happy that someone possesses a style where they can come into work on time and not be bothered by their hair. They can focus on doing a good job and being a team player. I find this policy to be really out of date and friggin ridiculous. Especially in this economy. If you need good workers, and they need good jobs, why be so selfish about a “Six Flags Identity”? This is really awful!

    • Kirsten

      I called Six Flags and got the same information over the phone from a manager. This new interpretation of their grooming policy, simply put, is RACIST. Locs are just one way that black people choose to naturally mangage their hair texture. I have worn beautiful, clean, neat locs for 7 years. I work as a school teacher and I am a liturgical dancer for a conservative church. The only way to change my hairstyle would be to SHAVE MY HEAD, which would also disqualify me from emplyment there. I used to live a stone’s throw from Six Flags and woud maintain a season pass. Six Flags will never get another dime from me and I will encourage everyone I know to consider the same.

  • sabirah

    let me get this straight…we can come out and support six flags while wearing our locs but six flags cannot support us with employment? omg, it’s just an amusement park! stop trying to get us to conform to your standards of beauty……locs are our crowning glory, grown with care and love, naturally! people don’t sit this one out, take a stand!! there are other amusements parks to visit!!

  • Hello. I’ve made a petition to abolish six flag’s discriminatory hiring policies against people with dreadlocks.Sixflags is not accepting applicants with dreadlocks! They consider it “too extreme” for a professional setting. This is untrue. Locks can be styled neatly and can be work appropriate like other conventional hairstyles.They’re generalizing a hairstyle and many people are missing out on employment opportunities because of it. Together we can do something about it. Help by signing the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/proLocks Spread the word. Thank you.