California on track to become first state to ban discrimination based on natural hair

CALIFORNIA — California will soon become the first state in the nation to ban discrimination based on natural hairstyles.

On June 27, California’s state Assembly voted unanimously to pass the Crown Act, which passed the state Senate in April, according to NBC News. 

The Crown Act, which stands for creating a respectful and open workplace for natural hair, would update California’s anti-discrimination law so that race also includes “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

The bill states that workplace dress codes and grooming policies that prohibit natural hairstyles such as braids, afros and twists, are more likely to burden or punish black employees more than any other group.

“In a society in which hair has historically been one of many determining factors of a person’s race, and whether they were a second class citizen, hair today remains a proxy for race. Therefore, hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination,” the bill reads.

If the bill is signed by California’s governor Gavin Newsom, it would legally protect individuals who wear natural hair in workplaces and in K-12 public schools.

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