A popular, seemingly harmless hair care product, Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion, is at the center of a heated debate in Seattle, Wash.
The child, who is the only African American in her advanced placement class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, was sent out of her classroom after her teacher said she was overwhelmed by the scent of the oil in her hair.
At her parent’s directive, the girl has been kept from school for several weeks.
According to the Seattle Times, Charles Mudede, the girl’s father, said no one at the school explained what happened in his daughter’s classroom. Mudede said the family would like to know why the teacher believed his daughter’s hair made her sick and why the school did not recognize the racial overtones of a White teacher removing her only African-American student from class. The girl’s father said there should have been “more cultural sensitivity” used in the incident.
To protect her self-esteem, Mudede reportedly said he’s spoken with his daughter about valuing her appearance and the pressures of straightening her hair to emulate her White classmates.