House passes Crown Act to end discrimination against Black hairstyles

Gerard Ortiz

As a Black female who chooses to wear her hair normal and closely shaved, I am no stranger to the discrimination that typically rears its unappealing head. A mentor after advised me I ought to consider about “growing some hair” and receiving rid of “the nails” so I would be taken severely. Then there was that agent from a prominent talent agency who told me I was not palatable more than enough for a cable tv audience. Did the agent mean I was also major and far too Black for Tv set? Or as well bald?

A mentor advised me I should really consider about “growing some hair” and getting rid of “the nails” so I would be taken seriously.

My experience is not exceptional, so I was elated when a movement in aid of producing a respectful and open up entire world for natural hair — recognised as the Crown Act — began to sweep the region, wherever it has received acceptance in much more than a dozen states. I was even much more elated when the U.S. Property of Representatives handed such legislation Friday. The act would prohibit discrimination primarily based on all-natural and protective hairstyles associated with men and women of African descent, together with hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled or worn as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots and Afros.

On Feb. 28, when Democrats attempted to pass the Crown Act utilizing a quickly-track procedure that expected the assistance of two-thirds of the chamber, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, explained he was opposed to the bill based mostly on his belief that hair-based mostly discrimination is previously illegal and due to the fact, he stated, there had been more significant matters Congress must be performing.

Jordan designed a very similar place all through Friday morning’s debate when he stated, “I hope we can in fact focus on the matters that issue to the American people,” which led Rep. Al Environmentally friendly, D-Texas, to remind him that “Black men and women are American people today, also.”

Then there’s Rep. Loren Boebert, R-Col., the QAnon-supporting Home Liberty Caucus communications chair, who, for the duration of very last month’s discussion on the bill, disrespectfully identified as it ”the lousy hair invoice.”


“Bad hair” is a loaded phrase, just one that Black men and women encountering internalized racism have often utilised to explain hair that is a lot more attribute of Africa than Europe. In 2009, the comic Chris Rock manufactured a documentary identified as “Good Hair,” which was motivated, he reported, by his then 6-calendar year-old daughter’s tearful question: “Daddy, how occur I really don’t have fantastic hair?” Thinking of the bill getting discussed and the historical past of the time period, Boebert’s remark about “bad hair” was an egregious insult.

There is practically nothing bad about a Black person’s natural hair. Girls this sort of as acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and President Joe Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Courtroom, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson (who’s confirmation hearings commence subsequent week) are distinguished Black females carrying purely natural hairstyles.

You may perhaps say: See, this proves hair doesn’t matter and that no 1 is judging Black women of all ages or any person else in The usa centered on how they use their hair!

Chris Rock produced a documentary called “Good Hair,” which was motivated by his daughter’s tearful query: “Daddy, how appear I never have great hair?”

Perfectly, let me to crack the information to you and Jim Jordan that, according to a 2019 Dove Crown Act study, Black women’s hair is 3.4 times far more probable to be perceived as unprofessional. That identical study also observed that “when wanting at images of hairstyles on Black gals and non-Black women, Black women’s hairstyles had been continually rated decreased or fewer prepared for occupation general performance.”

Chastity Jones appreciates this all way too perfectly.

In 2010 she was presented a job with Disaster Administration Answers as a shopper assistance agent right after an in-man or woman panel interview. Alongside with wage and other items, the career offer also specific that she experienced to slash off her locs, as they have been “towards company coverage.” In 2013, the Equal Employment Option Fee submitted a lawsuit on behalf of Jones — and shed.

It is not just Black ladies who experience these discrimination. So do Black guys and Black schoolchildren:

Inspite of ample proof of the difficulty, in the course of Friday’s vote, only 15 Republicans supported the Crown Act.

Sporting one’s hair in its natural condition shouldn’t be a punishable offense, but in 2022 if you are Black in The usa it can be. The Property has carried out its component to deal with this. It is now up to an evenly divided Senate to abide by fit.

We require the Senate to deliver the concept that there is no “good hair” or “bad hair”

We need the Senate to send out the concept that a lady who wears her hair as I don mine shouldn’t be presumed to be unskilled or unprofessional and that, contrary to Consultant Jordan’s dismissive remarks, this is an situation that Americans confront and that People want resolved.

CORRECTION (MARCH 21,2022 12:06 p.m. E.T.) A prior version of this report misstated that no Republicans supported the Crown Act. While none voted to allow for its consideration, 15 supported its closing passage.

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