Hair discrimination is allowed in most of the US, but Colorado just became one of the few states where it's banned.
The Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act went into effect in Colorado on Monday, according to Refinery29. First passed in March, the act protects against hair-related discrimination in public schools, workplaces, housing, public accommodations, and advertising.
Dove, the racial justice organization Color Of Change, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty introduced the bill to make it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of hairstyle choices predominately worn by Black people, including Afros, braids, curls, or locs.
“No one should be penalized for the way their hair grows naturally out of their heads,” Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod, who sponsored the bill, told the Denver Post.
Discrimination against people based on race is known to encourage exclusion and impoverish certain groups of the population who are already disadvantaged by lack of resources and services. A recent study found that Black women who wore natural hairstyles were less likely to get job interviews.
Racial discrimination in the workplace is one of many systemic barriers that make it difficult for Black people in the US to escape poverty, including lack of access to education, high incarceration rates, and more.
#Hairdiscrimination is not OK. At school. At work. Anywhere. But it’s still legal in most US states. We co-founded #TheCROWNCoalition to pass #TheCROWNAct, the first law to ban race-based hair discrimination. Sign & share the petition to #PassTheCROWN NOW: https://t.co/n6IOqa18pkpic.twitter.com/g7oAZjsFdk— Dove (@Dove) September 17, 2020
Colorado joins New York, California, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey in banning hair discrimination. Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and South Carolina have all pre-filed the CROWN Act but have yet to put it into effect.
The CROWN Act campaign is using an online petition to rally support to end hair discrimination in all states and encourages people to tell their local representatives that they care about the issue.
“We should support and celebrate our diversity, and we should ensure that Colorado is in place to protect folks who are being discriminated against,” said Herod.