Nurse Samantha Clarke is known for wearing her hair up in a braid at work, a common hairstyle for many women of color. She recently took to TikTok to share an encounter she had with a patient that left viewers in shock. In the video, Clarke, who goes by @samanthaclarke29 on the app, said a patient came up to her in the parking lot as she was leaving the doctor’s office to get lunch. Clarke claimed the patient told her that her braids were “inappropriate” for work.
She tried to shoot and got her shot knocked TF down!!! Funky ass
“Yesterday it was just me and my doctor here,” Clarke began in the 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 ahead, 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.’”
Medusa is a figure from Greek mythology that was described as having venomous snakes instead of hair and eyes that could turn people into stone.
Clarke quickly responded to the patient by giving her a taste of her own medicine.
“So, knowing that my black ass was off the clock, I looked at her and said, ‘Huh. Well, you know what else is inappropriate?” Clarke says in the video. “Coming to the doctor and smelling like you just ran a 10K, because it gives off stinky a**. Have a good day.’”
Women of color have long faced discrimination for their hairstyles.
California became the first state in the U.S. to ban the racial discrimination of natural hair in the workplace and in schools in 2019. Senate Bill 188, otherwise known as the “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” Act (the Crown Act) passed the State Senate with a unanimous vote and was signed into law on July 3, 2019.
Since then, the Crown Act has passed in 16 other states. It also passed the U.S. House of Representatives but remains stalled in the Senate.
Research shows that black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair. Black hairstyles are also 3.4 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional in the workplace.
Clarke’s video quickly went viral on TikTok, earning over 1.2 million views in just a couple of days. Many people shared their own experiences of facing discrimination because of their hair in the workplace. Others praised the nurse for standing up to the patient outside of work.
“Where do people get the audacity?? Like, it would never occur to me to just randomly insult anyone,” one person commented.
“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 another person. “What is wrong with people! LOVE what you said back!”
“I had twist and burgundy highlights. Coworker said, twist cute. I don’t like the color. My response, ‘didn’t get them for YOU!’” wrote another.