Can white people in America be victims of institutional racism? A Utah mother and daughter think so.
Eighth-grader Caycee Cunningham and her mom, Tonya Judd, are accusing a Pleasant Grove charter school called Lincoln Academy of racism after the school asked Cunningham to remove her dreadlocks.
Judd claims Caycee wears the dreadlocks for religious reasons, and started growing them while studying in Guatemala as part of a “spiritual journey” to explore her Hindu beliefs, Fox 13 reported.
“I guess it’s just like representing like me turning over a new leaf and like trying to find myself,” Cunningham said.
But according to Lincoln Academy, Cunningham will have to “find herself” without the dreads.
“Our dress code says that our students’ hair must have a neat, combed appearance, be appropriate for school, and not be distracting in the classroom,” Principal Jake Hunt told Fox 13.
For white kids, that apparently means “no dreadlocks.” And Judd says that’s a double standard.
“My daughter is white and there happens to be other kids in the school who happen to be other race and ethnicity and they have hair that can’t be combed, and there’s never been an issue regarding that before,” Judd said.
Judd also claims the mandated removal of Cunningham’s dreadlocks violates her daughter’s religious liberty.
“Not only have they been racially profiling my daughter because she happens to be a white girl with dreadlocks, but it’s also taking away the rights of my daughter’s religious beliefs and her spiritual journey,” Judd said.
Hunt said Cunningham isn’t receiving any immediate repercussions for not removing her dreadlocks, but hopes she and her mother can come to a compromise with the school, Fox 13 reported.
“We would be happy to come to a common solution with parents if they have concerns,” Hunt said.
Cunningham and Judd are having none of it, and told Fox 13 they’re prepared to transfer schools if they have to.
“I think they could be a little more accepting of it, and I think they should, because we do live in America, and it just kind of boggles my mind a little bit,” Cunningham said.
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