New Yorkers hail city’s new law against discrimination based on hair which can attract $250k penalty

February 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm | News

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

February 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm | News

Thanks to new guidance issued by New York City, it is now illegal to discriminate someone based on their hair. The law was passed earlier this week and has since been received very well especially by the black community who have suffered in several spaces due to their naturally given hair.

Chirlane McCray, the First Lady of New York City

Chirlane McCray, the First Lady of New York City is reported to have expressed immense joy at the very much needed developments stating that
“bias against the curly textured hair of people of African descent is as old as this country and a form of race-based discrimination.”

According to Buzz Feed, the new guidelines from the New York City Human Rights Law updates the older one and makes clear that the law now protects citizens’ rights to wear their hair in a manner associated with their racial, ethnic, or cultural identities. Specifically identifying black people’s rights to wear “locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

The new guidelines which make it very possible for legal action, allows the city commission levy penalties of up to $250,000 on defendants who are found in violation of the guidelines

Speaking with Buzzfeed, Carmelyn Malalis, Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission stated that: “In New York City, we want to make the bold statement that these prohibitions on hairstyles that are closely associated with black people are a form of race discrimination. They really fail to consider the toll these bans take on black identity.”

The guidelines come at a time when many hair discriminatory stories have since the latter part of 2019 to date taken up much of African-American related new. The latest being the case of a New Jersey student wrestler who in December 2018 was forced to cut off his dreadlocks before being able to fight.

A New Jersey high school wrestler forced to cut off his dreadlocks or risk forfeiting the match

Currently, the New York City Human Rights commission is investigating seven cases in which people have complained of discrimination on the basis of their hair.

The new guidelines which is long over due is still a step into the right direction and several individuals in the USA are calling on their states to walk in the steps of New York City.

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