What is hair discrimination?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2023 | Race Discrimination |

Some forms of discrimination are easier to identify. Other forms are actually relatively subtle, or many people just do not know how they serve as discriminatory acts in the first place.

Hair-based discrimination often falls into this category, but new legislation brings attention to the issue while combating it.

The relation between hair and race

The CROWN Act’s official website discusses the importance of protecting people with natural hair. This is due to the inherent discrimination that many people, especially those of African American descent, have had to deal with due to their hair texture or hairstyle of choice.

Over the years, certain hairstyles became synonymous with certain ethnic backgrounds or races. Unfortunately, these same styles and textures then became targets of subtle workplace discrimination.

Discrimination due to hair

For example, for a long time, it was okay for an employer to tell their employee that they could not wear dreadlocks, locs, cornrows or other types of hairstyles due to it looking “unprofessional”.

Needless to say, this is a form of clear discrimination. Most ethnic individuals wear their hair in such a way, so by saying that it looks unprofessional, it seems like a way of calling the race to which the style belongs unprofessional.

Many people who wear their hair in these styles also face discrimination when hunting for jobs. Employers pass them over for workers with different hairstyles or textures.

Acts like the CROWN Act work to bring attention to this problem and ban such discrimination in workplaces across the nation.


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