No dreadlocks or weaves? North Carolina pool criticized over ‘racist’ rules

An outdoor recreation center in North Carolina defended its ban on dreadlocks and hair weaves after some people on social media called the rules racist and discriminatory.

A Facebook user posted a photograph of the pool rules for the Outdoor Recreation Center in Wendell on Sunday. One rule says “no baggy pants, no dread-locks/weaves/extensions or revealing clothes will be permitted or you will be asked to leave.”

Some people on Facebook spoke out against the rules.

“Is this really allowed in Wendell!!!” Nikki Nechole Harris wrote on the Wendell NC Community Connections Facebook group.

“Definitely racial discrimination! Never will see me there!!” another user wrote.

The Outdoor Recreation Center in Wendell, North Carolina. Google Earth

Some people took their comments to the Facebook page of Teresa Freeman, who has the same name as an owner of the business and has posted content shared by the recreation center’s account.

The Facebook page bearing Freeman’s name shared a post in December from Redneck Country Life, which shows a Confederate flag below the words, “This does not offend me.” The image also shows a photo of two people with sagging jeans, saying “This bull**** does.”

A McClatchy reporter left a voicemail message for the Outdoor Recreation Center on Monday. The reporter also emailed the business and sent a Facebook message but had not received a response by Monday afternoon.

In a Facebook post that has since been deleted, the Outdoor Recreation Center said hair extensions are banned because they can get into pumping equipment, causing an “automatic shutdown of 3 days or more.”

The business says on its Facebook page that people must pay a membership fee to visit the pool.

The pool is run “with no help from the government, city or state for the past 6 years,” according to a now-deleted Facebook post.

Screengrab from the ORC of Wendell's Facebook page. It has since been taken down.

Other social media users posted screenshots appearing to show a separate apology from the Outdoor Recreation Center.

“Due to ignorance of the meaning of the word dread-locks, ORC rules should have stated NO artificial hair,” information on the posts said.

That Facebook post wasn’t on the center’s Facebook page as of Monday afternoon.


Screengrab from comments on the Wendell NC Community Connections Group Facebook page

Some people defended the recreation center and its rules.

“If you don’t like the rules then don’t go! This is a private business and it’s within their rights to make the rules,” Ann Honeycutt wrote on Facebook. “Unless you own a business of this type you can’t know what problems they have had that prompted the owners to make these rules.”