Black women’s hairstyles have consistently been sought after either as fashionable accessories or as acts of defiance. However, California has become the first state to recognize and legally support these hairstyles and types for what they are— natural.
Picture this. It is 2019 and the way your hair naturally grows out of your head is still a topic of discussion and often times, discrimination. This image is not hypothetical for black women.
There remain restrictions on how our hair should look in order to be considered socially acceptable. While New York took the first steps to fight this racial discrimination, California became the first state to enforce it in its entirety.
California’s State Assembly passed the CROWN Act, also known as 'Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair'. This bill bans both schools and workplaces from instilling discriminatory hair grooming policies for their students and employees.
The legislation was introduced by Holly Mitchell, the Los Angeles State Senator. “This bill has truly struck a deeply personal chord with people because there is something so deeply personally offensive when you are told that your hair, in its natural state, is not acceptable.”
The bill includes security for protective styles as well as Afros and weaves.
“Black girls are being sent home for their hair being in violation of school dress code,” Mitchell stated. “I’m not sure how that happened, but now it hopefully won’t anymore.”