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Nothing shines the spotlight on black women’s hair quite like a white conservative talk show host making fun of it.

When Bill O’Reilly said he couldn’t hear anything thirteen-term African American U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was saying because he was distracted by her hair – which he likened to a James Brown wig – he set off a nationwideTwitter storm of fury.

#BlackWomenAtWork is still trending a full day later because O’Reilly struck a nerve that went deeper than a political barb ordinarily would.

African American women around the country are taking to Twitter to share stories of the humiliating and diminishing treatment they experience every single day in the workplace. Although Waters’ hair is straightened and styled, many of those posting on social media talked about the negative reactions they receive to their natural hair.

Piled high, these tweets underscore what most women, particularly African American women with natural hair know – hair matters. It affects how seriously women are taken, how effectively their message is communicated and whether they can get their ideas implemented.

That’s a whole lot of pressure placed on strands of keratin.

 

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