Dallas County judge responds to criticism over shaved hairstyle

A Dallas County judge is using feedback about her hair as a teaching tool for young people.

Judge Amber Givens-Davis has recently presided over a few high-profile cases, including last week’s trial for Wesley Mathews.

Her hair is shaved on both sides with the top long. And she said she received a lot of emails about it during the trial.

While most feedback was positive, some comments were negative. After reading a few, the judge decided to take the opportunity to talk to young people about individuality and self-confidence.

She’s now sharing her hair experience in a series of discussions with girls from 12 to 21.

“I don’t separate my person from my job. But it just so happens that my person is being highlighted because of the audacity that I have to be myself. But my job is very serious. I take it very seriously,” she said.

Givens-Davis told a group of girls on Monday that she always takes a moment to talk to her jurors about making assumptions about people based only on the way they look.

“People immediately want to come in and identify the defendant because they think there’s a look. So then I talk about myself. It’s weird that this has all kind of come full circle. I talk about the fact that if you looked at me in my dress outside the courtroom you would never assume that I was the presiding judge because assumptions fail us all the time,” she said.

The girls all agreed that seeing someone in power step out of society’s comfort zone to be themselves is inspiring. The judge – who’s been on the bench in Dallas for more than four years, spent eight years as a prosecutor in New York and graduated from Syracuse law school – encouraged them to have the courage to do the same.

She plans to continue to have sessions similar to the one Monday at Concord Church in order to encourage young people to express their individuality.