Doesn’t matter if your hair is curly, kinky or a little nappy, this could be considered or described as natural black hair. Even though some people consider these terms insulting and discriminatory against African Americans, it has heightened a racial insensitivity convincing lawmakers that more federal protections need to be in place for black culture.
Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker and New Jersey senator introduced an act that prohibits discrimination against common hairstyles worn by African-Americans. Some say that they are trying to win over black voters by introducing this act also known as CROWN. Howerver, either way it is a conversation that is much needed.
Crown stands for “Create a respectful and open world for natural hair.”
Some individuals noticed that there have been explicit biases against people with this hair texture, and is deep ingrained into the workplace. This is an automatic violation to civil rights and should be enforced to the public by any means. There was a case that was brought to Booker’s attention in December 2018. The case was a New Jersey high school student by the name of Andrew Johnson. He was forced to publicly cut his hair because of the dreadlocks he wore for a wrestling match. The adolescent boy could have given up the wrestling match altogether, but instead he chose his passion for wrestling over his hair. It disgusted many and outraged others.
With the Crown Act, the legislation made it known that discrimination against protective hairstyles and natural hairstyles with people of African descent was unacceptable. This included tightly coiled locs, twist, braids, cornrows, bantu knots and more.
The fight against hairstyles leading to profiling can sometimes go too far. For example, the case of DC homicide detective Jed Worrell, knowingly accepted and stated that he profiled an individual based specifically on his dreadlocks.
Now, people understand that it forces black women and men into deciding if a hairstyle is appropriate enough for a professional standard. This can no longer occur. African American people have passed some hairstyles down from civilizations and use it as a way to express religious rights.
Studies have shown that black women are 50% more likely to be told or sent home from work due to their particular hairstyle. Therefore, they have to or feel the need to change their natural state to fit the office.
This also happens during interviews. If a prospective boss does not feel comfortable sitting down with an individual with dreads or too much coil, they can easily deny them of the position based on a hairstyle.
The Crown Act is giving individuals a way to stand up for their individuality. And this is only the beginning. Hopefully this particular type of law will help others understand the importance of equality and diversity.