The End of Hair Discrimination?

Natural curly hair has been a topic for centuries. Our ancestors had their heads shaved and were forced to cover their hair. We grew up with the idea of “good hair,” believing that we needed a loose curl pattern or straight hair to be considered beautiful.

With the rise of the natural hair movement it seemed that we were finally ready to accept our natural hair in all it’s glory. However, others weren’t. Most recently we’ve heard the disappointing stories of young girls being forced to go home due to their natural hair or protective style being “in violation of the dress code.” It will never make sense how the hair that grows out of someone’s head could be considered “unprofessional.”

In California, a bill known as the C.R.O.W.N. Act currently sits on the desk of its governor waiting for approval. The C.R.O.W.N. (“Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural” hair) Act was introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell this year. It will ensure that employers and schools cannot discriminate against black people wearing their natural hair and protective hairstyles, in addition to the current protection of Afros.

“Professionalism was, and still is, closely linked to European features and mannerisms, which entails that those who do not naturally fall into Eurocentric norms must alter their appearances, sometimes drastically and permanently, in order to be deemed professional,” the bill states.

It is amazing that California is taking this step, but it is not enough. Even if New York and New Jersey follow through with their plans to do the same, it will not create the widespread change that we need to see here in the United States. It will take time and effort, but we need push to the acceptance of our hair. If we don’t who will?

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