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California, New York Legislate Natural Hair

legislating-hair

Yes, we are still fighting the fight against discrimination of us. Our hair has always been a focus of hair discrimination in American society. Since having to obey laws which forced Black women to cover our natural hair in public, we have been victims of discrimination.

Although The New York City Commission on Human Rights already had laws on the books making it illegal to discriminate against people based on race, in February of 2019, they became the first municipality in the United States to formally adopted specific guidelines designed to prevent racial discrimination on anyone based on their hairstyle.

This has specific implications for those of use who wear natural hair, locs, twists and other hairstyles common to us, but not to other ethnicity.

Following New York's lead, California is in line to become the first state to ban this type of discrimination outright.

On July 27th, the State Assembly of California voted unanimously to approve the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), an Act banning the discrimination of people who wear natural hair, while also banning employers and schools from enforcing discriminatory grooming policies.

As a child who was a victim of hair discrimination in elementary school, when my parents were instructed to change my hairstyle from an afro to something more "groomed" – this CROWN act is a welcome change that will prevent teachers and administrators from singling out and negatively affecting the self-image of children simply because they would prefer they straighten their hair.

As natural hair becomes more popular and has entered the mainstream, in large part due to the internet's Natural Hair Revolution which started around 2001 (and in which Nappturality played no small part), and despite being popular hairstyles for us, natural and protective styles such as braids, twists and locs are still prohibited across the US in many employment, educational, corporate and military settings.

On a positive note, although the US military still has restrictions that specifically target our hairstyles. Recently the military has revisited their restrictions and under pressure, have removed some barriers that were put in place to prevent the wearing of natural styles.

We still have a long way to go, but we are making great headway towards more respect towards us and our natural hair. 

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