Crown Act.

BY: EBENEZER NKUNDA

The CROWN Act ensures protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the Fair Employment and HousingAct (FEHA) and state Education Codes.

This shouldn’t be needed; it shouldn’t even be a problem—but it is. We keep seeing discrimination against black bodies because of something as simple as their hair. Discrimination based on hair texture is a form of social injustice, found worldwide, that targets black people—specifically black people who have afro-textured hair that hasn’t been chemically straightened. Black hair has frequently been seen as unprofessional, unattractive, and unclean as eurocentric hair is known as “the good hair”.

This is why black women have often felt the need to assimilate to the majority. Cultural assimilation in regards to hair causes black women, who are constantly attacked with negative images and messages about their textured hair, to be forced to resemble the bulk (white women) to be accepted in society. This suggests that natural hair or the hairstyles that black women create/wear are ugly, ratchet, unprofessional and/or ghetto. Black people can be fired from their jobs, expelled from schools, or punished because of the natural state of their hair. So they straighten it to fit the eurocentric beauty standards of our modern society. Black people often don’t have any choice but to assimilate to these beauty standards to avoid microaggressions or unequal opportunities. This need to assimilate to a dominant culture is a survival tactic, not an optional fashion trend to abide by.

In 2018, high school Wrestler Andrew Johnson was given an ultimatum by a white referee before a match: cut your dreads or forfeit the match and your team loses. He couldn’t be the person to cause the team to lose, so he cut his dreads. His dreads were cut then and there on the floor during the match. Just in the last couple of months, DeAndre Arnold, a black Texas student, has faced in-school suspension for failing to cut his long dreadlocks. Arnold’s family said he has been wearing his hair in locks since the seventh grade and it is an expression of his Trinidadian heritage. They have asked the school for an exception to the rule. Officials at Barbers Hill High School, a public school in Mont Belvieu, Texas, told Arnold and his parents that he may be forbidden to attend graduation in three months unless he cuts his hair. How is this fair?

These stories are why the CROWN Act matters—why it is needed in all 50 states. As black people, we shouldn’t have to turn down our blackness. Not for anyone. Not for anything.

Image result for crown act
(Good Black News, 2019)

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