Black Experience

California First State to Outlaw Natural Hairstyle Discrimination

California has become the first state to outlaw discrimination based on natural hairstyles in workplaces and public schools.

The state’s CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), which protects the right to wear natural hairstyles that have racial and cultural implications, was passed in June and signed into law this month by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The act became law amid ongoing prejudicial discussions surrounding Black women’s natural hairstyles.

California’s bill has inspired similar legislation in other regions such as New York and New Jersey, where in June, officialsproposed legislation modeled after the CROWN Act.

As a result, the New York City Commission on Human Rights plans to release new guidelines that will now consider it racial discrimination to target people because of their hair or hairstyle, whether at work, school or in public spaces.


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