TikTok user Samantha Clarke, who goes by @samanthaclarke29 on the app, recalled the conversation she had with a patient as she was leaving the doctor’s office to pick up lunch. While she was in the parking lot, the patient told Clarke that her hairstyle – braids tied into a bun – were “inappropriate” for the workplace.
“Yesterday it was just me and my doctor here,” she began the TikTok video. “He decides he’s going to buy me lunch, but the key was, I had to go get it. Not a problem.”
“While I’m walking to my car, I ran into a patient of ours in the parking lot,” she continued. “At first, she didn’t recognize me. As she’s passing me, she’s staring at me, and when she passed me she turned around and she goes, ‘Samantha, is that you?’ I said yes, I said, ‘You can go head up, the doctor is waiting for you.’ She looks at me and she goes, ‘You know, I never liked braids. I think they’re inappropriate for the workplace. They give off Medusa.’”
However, Clarke did not waste any time hitting back at the patient for her unsolicited opinion.
“So knowing that my Black ass was off the clock, I looked at her and said, ‘Huh. Well, you know what else is inappropriate?,” she said. “Coming to the doctor and smelling like you just ran a 10K, because it gives off stinky a**. Have a good day.’”
In 2019, California became the first state in the United States to ban the racial discrimination of natural hair in the workplace and in schools. In April, Senate Bill 188, otherwise known as the "Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair" Act (the Crown Act) was passed by a unanimous vote in the California State Senate and signed into law on 3 July, 2019.
She tried to shoot and got her shot knocked TF down!!! Funky ass
♬ original sound - Samantha Clarke
Since then, the Crown Act has become an official law in 16 states, and in March of this year it was passed in the House of Representatives.
According to a 2019 study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair. Black women’s hair is also 3.4 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional in the workplace.
Clarke received more than 1.3m views on her TikTok video. Commenters praised Clarke for her response to the patient, while others even shared their own experiences of hair discrimination in the workplace.
“Where do people get the audacity?? Like, it would never occur to me to just randomly insult anyone,” commented one TikTok user.
“I was told that my braids were unprofessional 12+yrs ago. My reply was ok and I not only continued wearing them but I added color. Na what,” shared someone else.
“No no nope no. Not only wrong in general but way outta line,” wrote one person. “What is wrong with people! LOVE what you said back!”
One TikToker shared: “I had twist and burgundy highlights. Coworker said, twist cute. I don’t like the color. My response, ‘didn’t get them for YOU!’”
“Drop mic,” said one person, while another user commented: “You are my new best friend.”
The Independent has contacted Samantha Clarke for comment.