Black Lawmaker Renew Push To End Hair Discrimination

Photo by Brooks Leibee on Unsplash

( – On Wednesday, a group of Black lawmakers, led by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), reintroduced the CROWN Act, aimed at eliminating hair discrimination. They were joined by other members of Congress and Adjoa B. Asamoah, co-founder of the CROWN Coalition. This legislation, officially called the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, seeks to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against based on their natural hair texture or style.

During the announcement, Watson Coleman highlighted the ongoing issue of Black individuals facing bias simply due to their natural hair textures, which are as inherent to them as their skin color. She referenced studies, including a 2020 research effort from Michigan State and Duke universities, which demonstrated that Black women with natural hairstyles are often viewed as less professional and competent, impacting their job prospects and treatment in the workplace.

The proposed federal CROWN Act would make it illegal to discriminate based on hair texture or hairstyles like locs, cornrows, twists, braids, and Afros, which are often linked to racial identity. This measure aims to address the deep-seated biases that associate professionalism and beauty with Eurocentric standards.

Sen. Cory Booker emphasized the psychological and cultural significance of hair for Black individuals, declaring that it’s time to end the biases against natural hair. Rep. Steven Horsford noted the broad support for the bill within the Congressional Black Caucus, stressing the discriminatory impact on individuals like Darryl George, a Texas student suspended over his hairstyle.

This legislative effort follows previous attempts to enact similar protections, which have seen some states implement their own versions of the CROWN Act. However, inconsistencies across states and ongoing incidents highlight the need for a uniform federal standard. Advocates argue that the CROWN Act not only seeks to protect civil rights but also supports public health and sends a powerful message of inclusion to all Black Americans.

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