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  5. California Is About To Ban Hair Discrimination

California Is About To Ban Hair Discrimination

woman with big afro. california bans hair discrimination
Deciding how to style your hair every morning may not sound like a life-changing decision but for many men and women with textured hair, the wrong hairstyle can mean the difference between whether or not they can provide for their families. For decades men and women with textured hair—particular those of color—have been discriminated against for wearing hairstyles such as locs, box braids, bantu knots, and afros.

On Thursday, June 27, California lawmakers passed The CROWN Act, a bill banning racial discrimination against people wearing natural hairstyles. Once signed into law by the California Governor, California will become the first state to outright ban hair discrimination.

The purpose of the CROWN Act—an acronym that stands for “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair”—is to ban schools and employers from enforcing grooming policies that disproportionately affect people of color.

"The history of our nation is riddled with laws and societal norms that equated 'blackness,' and the associated physical traits, for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair to a badge of inferiority," the bill reads. “Despite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that Black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for Black individuals.”

While California is the first state to take steps towards banning hair discrimination, it’s not the only state or city tackling the issue. In February, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released new guidelines detailing that it is now considered racial discrimination to target people because of their hair or hairstyle, whether at work, school, or in public spaces. Just this week, New Jersey lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban hair discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public schools.

The bills have garnered tons of support and praise on social media, with users urging their elected officials to propose similar bills in their states. Unfortunately, hair discrimination is still rampant across the country and has very real consequences for citizens in the 49 states without these protections. To create true texture equality, we have to begin to uplift and praise all hair, no matter the type, texture, length, color, or style.