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Ashley Baker

Stuck on stupid.

That pretty much sums up my sentiments about the former Glamour magazine staffer who made the offensive remarks about natural black hair.

She was seriously stuck on stupid.

Since my editors expect my column to be longer than a three-word diatribe, I’ll fill the rest of this space by filling you in. In June, the Glamour staffer, Ashley Baker, made inappropriate remarks about the afro hairstyle and dreadlocks during a gathering of female lawyers in New York. Her comments sparked a controversy that continued for months and led to her resignation from the magazine.

Baker was invited to speak at a luncheon held by the Women’s Working Group at the New York law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Several of the lawyers present were African American. She gave a slide presentation on the do’s and don'ts of corporate dress that included a slide featuring a black female executive wearing an afro.

Baker described the afro as a “Glamour don’t.” She also reportedly made disparaging remarks about dreadlocks. She called them “dreadful.”

According to stories published in Diversity Inc. and The American Lawyer, Baker was quoted as saying that it “was shocking that some people still think it appropriate to wear those hairstyles at the office. No offense . . . but those political hairstyles really have to go.”

When Glamour management heard about Baker's remarks, she was reprimanded, and the editor-in-chief posted a letter of apology on the magazine’s website and noted that the staffer’s appearance at the luncheon was unauthorized and her comments did not reflect the official policy of the company.

The managing partner of the law firm issued a memo to employees calling the staffer’s remarks “racially insensitive, inappropriate and wrong.”

“That woman is in serious need of a "napitude adjustment chat,” said my friend Jackie, a life coach and editor who lives in Washington, D.C., and whose hair has been “dread-ful” for 19 years and counting.

According to Jackie, a “naptitude adjustment chat” is similar to having an “attitude adjustment chat” with a child who has misbehaved. Jackie’s desire to have a napped-up version of an attitude chat with the former staffer would keep her from making ignorant remarks about natural black hair and African-inspired hairstyles in the future.

Since Baker was reprimanded and had to resign from her job following her faux pas at the luncheon, I may consider rethinking my opinion of her.

By now her awareness has surely been raised and she may no longer be as stuck on stupid as she was back in June.

She has learned at least one thing.

She now knows that the afro hairstyles is not a “Glamour don’t." The real don't was her ignorance and insensitivity.

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