California Becomes The First State to Officially Ban Natural-Hair Discrimination

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

There’s justice for California residents. In the first bright piece of news for 2020, the state will be the first to outlaw discrimination against natural hair in workplaces and schools, reports Hill.com.

Legislation fittingly named the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), because what is natural hair but a crowning glory, amends the state’s existing anti-discrimination law. The law now contains writing that interestingly acknowledges Eurocentric standards of beauty, the perception of natural hair, and the link between being biased against natural hair and blackness:

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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, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment.

This idea also permeated societal understanding of professionalism. 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.

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.

The law also specifically highlights various natural hairstyles, including afros, braids, twists, and locks. Other states, like New Jersey, may soon follow. After being approved by the Senate in New Jersey, the CROWN Act is currently awaiting signature by New Jersey governor Phil Murphy. Many are nodding approvingly of this news, including most likely Zendaya.

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