The title of this post is not a typo. It might seem silly at first, but it’s definitely not a mistake.
Earlier this week, the principal of Bishop Anstey & Trinity College East Sixth Form School sent folks home for having facial hair that she didn’t approve with as head of the school. Some might say that’s totally in her right…except there are no school rules dictating that you can’t have a beard, and some Muslims for religious reasons don’t shave. Nevertheless, the principal, Ms. Joan Mason, decided to send the folks home…
And the Form Six students, in an amazing show of defiance, decided they not sitting idly by with that sh*t.
Take, for instance, this young man. His name’s Ayinde Bereaux, one of the Form Six students of the school. A day after hearing that some of his fellow students were sent home for their facial hair, he drew a beard on his own face in permanent marker. The day after, in the school’s assembly, he prepared and presented a speech, in from of Ms. Mason herself, displaying his belief that what the school’s administration did was heavy-handed and wrong, and that he – like any caring fellow student – would stand in rebellion against such treatment to students.
Now, some might say that this is pretty trivial nonsense. Students could just shave their beards and go back to school, damn it… At first, I thought like that, until I realized that this is not the case for everyone. Students from strict Muslim families or who have decided to follow the Prophet Muhammad of their own volition wouldn’t shave, and that might be true for other faiths like Rastafarianism. Even so, this is trivial compared to a lot of other things. There is still a very homophobic law ready to be passed in Ugandan Parliament that would have homosexuals legally murdered. Sexual violence in India is still a serious reality. We live in a country that arrests hundreds of little black boys a year…unless they are reigning Soca Monarchs. We’ve got much bigger things to talk about…right?
Wrong…kind of. Yeah, there are still much greater opportunities for an intelligent and informed youth that are charged to create change in their societies and the world…blahdy blah. Fact is, if they’re not first standing for their own identities in the communities that they are actively apart of, then how are they expected to stand for anyone else?
Understand this; Ayinde, a young man seemingly unaffected by the problems of other students, still identified with them and rallied for them. Female students, who (I would like to think) never had a beard and never will, stood by their male colleagues for the “#BeardRevolution”. It was the topic of Literature classes and Student Council emergency meetings, and even forced Principal Mason to have not one teacher’s meeting, but two.
It might not be a march or hunger strike, and it might not be against rising crime rates or an evil capitalist structure, but it’s just as meaningful in my view. It’s about people owning their identities and feeling like credited parts of their communities. It’s an example of camaraderie, unity and willpower in a place where it made sense to sit down and shut up. And that’s where true revolution begins.