News: California About To Become 1st State To Ban Natural Hair Discrimination In U.S.
Discrimination against employees or students based on their natural hairstyles will soon be illegal in California, as the state becomes the first in the nation to ban discrimination over natural hair.
“Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace (Crown) Act into law, prohibiting employers and schools from enforcing rules against hairstyles including afros, braids, twists, and locks,” The Guardian reported.
Los Angeles Democrat Sen. Holly Mitchell first introduced the bill earlier this year. The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
“This law protects the right of Black Californians to choose to wear their hair in its natural form, without pressure to conform to Eurocentric norms,” Mitchell said in a statement. “I am so excited to see the culture change that will ensue from the law.”
The law bans employers and schools from enforcing rules against styles that would unfairly target Black people.
“In a society in which hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race, and whether they were a second-class citizen, hair today remains a proxy for race,” the bill said. “Therefore, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.”
The problem of discriminating against natural hairstyles has risen as many in the Black community have turned town using natural hairstyles.
“In 2013, BP fired a top executive for wearing what one colleague called “ethnic hairstyles” including twists, braids, and cornrows. In 2018, an Alabama woman sued after a company required her to cut her locks to get a job. Also that year, a woman said her 14-year-old son was sent home from his school in Fresno, California, because of the way his head was shaved. And in December, a white referee sparked outrage by requiring a black student to cut his dreadlocks off before a wrestling match.,” The Guardian reported.
The U.S. Army also came under fire for banning natural hairstyles but then in 2017 it revised regulations to allow Black soldiers to wear natural hairstyles.
“A few other states have proposed similar measures. Last month, a bill intended to ban discrimination based on hair was introduced in the New Jersey Legislature. In February, New York City passed similar protections on the right to maintain natural hairstyles that are closely associated with racial, ethnic or cultural identities,” CNN reported.
Written by Ann Brown