Friday, June 17, 2011

Cornrows and human rights

Today's ruling by Mr Justice Collins that a school's ban on the cornrows hairstyle resulted in "unlawful, indirect racial discrimination" puts me in mind of a post I wrote in March 2005 when dinosaurs roamed the lanes of Leicestershire and this blog had few readers:
What interests and worries me is the idea that an appeal to human rights can be used to settle a case like this.

There are good arguments for school uniform in terms of corporate spirit and the avoidance of bullying over fashionable labels. There are good arguments against in terms of individualism. When I was a primary school governor in the 1980s the school did not have a uniform and I was happy to defend this because I had been to such a primary school myself. Today I might well take the opposite view.

For this is just the sort of question which does not have a single right answer as it involves reconciling two desirable but conflicting ideals. Different people of good will, different families and different communities will strike the balance in a different place. It seems odd to believe that any position can be shown to be irrational or morally wrong.
You can read the whole post - School uniform and human rights. I stand by it today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

perhaps the Head should have advised G that cornrows cause irreversible damage to hair follicles, resulting in a unique pattern of traction alopecia, with discoid areas of baldness across the scalp.

Philosophy is all well & good, but sometimes it's just easier to avoid it....oh wait, that make me a pragmatist