CROWN Act protects race-based hairstyles

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The CROWN Act prohibits discrimination for race-based hairstyles.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — An act which protects against discrimination in race-based hairstyles goes into effect in the City of Columbus on January 16.

Sponsored by Priscilla Tyson and Shayla Favor, the legislation gives statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs and twists.

According to a press release from Columbus City Council, the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) adds two provisions to the Columbus City Code that state:

  • “Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair textures and protective and cultural hairstyles; and
  • “Protective and cultural hairstyles” includes, but is not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locs, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, and twists, whether or not hair extensions or treatments are used to create or maintain any such style, and whether or not hair ornaments, beads or head wraps adorn the hair.

The legislation expands discrimination to include employment, fair housing, public accommodations and education.

Hair is another stressor tied to race that marginalizes Black students in the classroom and professionals in the workplace, the release said.

Racial inequities concerning hair have led to discrimination that can severely impact performance. It occurs when students and employees have to worry more about how their hair will be perceived or accepted instead of their academic and professional capabilities, the release said.     

The CROWN Act is the result of a national effort by the CROWN Coalition, founded by Dove, the National Urban League, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the Color of Change and supported by more than 50 non-governmental and non-profit organizations. These groups have worked to raise awareness for hair discrimination and driven action to end hair discrimination in workplaces and schools, the press release concluded.

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