At this point it doesn’t even need to be further stated that black people are extremely discriminated against in a variety of ways—even down to our hair. While many black people have detailed their unfortunate experiences with discrimination against their hair, one state is aiming to put a stop to it permanently.
The always progressive state of California is set to become the first in the country to officially ban hair discrimination of any kind, which will largely benefit POC. California lawmakers at the state assembly recently passed the CROWN Act, the official bill that will protect black people from any discrimination surrounding their hair. The CROWN Act already passed through the California State Senate and now it’s headed to California Governor, Gavin Newsom for official signing.
The legislation was initially proposed by California Senator Holly Mitchell (D), a black woman, who understood the importance of such a firm stance on the constant discrimination hurled at black people due to their hair.
The CROWN Act seeks to outlaw policies that punish black employees and K-12 students for wearing their natural hair. Furthermore, all workplaces and public schools would be prohibited from enforcing grooming policies that disproportionately affect people of color, specifically black people who wear braids, dreadlocks and Afros.
Detailing the struggles that black people have always faced regarding their hair, Mitchell stated:
“Eurocentric standards of beauty have established the very underpinnings of what was acceptable and attractive in the media, in academic settings and in the workplace. So even though African Americans were no longer explicitly excluded from the workplace, black features and mannerisms remained unacceptable and ‘unprofessional.’”
Mitchell decided to move forward with the CROWN Act last year after Chastity Jones from Alabama petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case, after her job offer was rescinded for refusal to cut her dreadlocks.
If the bill is indeed signed by California’s governor, it would be the first of its kind in the U.S., although New York City recently implemented its own hair discrimination ban in February, but it has yet to move as far along as California’s.
Roommates, do you think other states will follow California’s lead with banning hair discrimination?