The CROWN Act: Connecticut set to become latest state to ban natural hair discrimination

Ama Nunoo March 05, 2021
Christina Jackson, 13, says that she "wears the crown that she was born with." Jackson, a student with the Young Women's Leadership Corps spoke at a news conference Tuesday morning in support of the CROWN act that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on hairstyles for people of color. Photo: Brad Horrigan/The Hartford Courant

Connecticut is the latest state to pass The CROWN Act that would make natural hair discrimination illegal. The state’s Senate voted 33-0 to pass The CROWN Act, an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair this week.

NBC Connecticut reports that all that is left is for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to sign the bill into law which will liberate Black women and people of color to wear their hair whichever way they deem fit.

Governor Lamont shared his thoughts on Twitter, writing, “This measure is critical to helping build a more equitable society, and I look forward to signing it into law in the coming days.”

He has always been vocal about any form of hair discrimination because he is aware that such discrimination happens on a daily and Black people should not be “judged on their hairstyle.”

Research shows that there is a lower chance for Black women with all sorts of natural hairstyles – curly afros, twists, or braids – to get job interviews than their White counterparts or Black women with straightened hair.

The study was by researchers from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the study indicates how societal preferences fuel racial discrimination in the workplace.  

Participants in the research perceived Black hairstyles as less professional, especially for Black women vying for positions in industries with a more conservative outlook.

CaliforniaNew York, Virginia, and New Jersey have all passed similar protections at the state level because Black people have had to deal with all forms of attacks and racist policies that prevent them from wearing their hair in traditional natural hairstyles. Such styles include but are not limited to cornrows, Bantu knots, Afros, and braids in schools, work, and other institutions.

Rep. Robyn Porter of New Haven, a sponsor of The CROWN Act bill, was told when she first joined the Senate to “settle on a hairstyle.”

“Many of us are judged, reprimanded, and passed over for promotion or even fired for the way we wear our hair to work,” she said. “Conformity is often a means of survival.”

The relationship between Black women and their natural hair has been bittersweet, from being called nappy to other derogatory names. In recent times, however, more Black women are learning to embrace their natural manes because the natural hair coupled with the Black Lives Matter movement has liberated more women to wear natural hairstyles.

Natural hair advocates have spoken several times about the increasing hair discrimination problem that African Americans battle with on a daily basis.

A lawyer and diversity trainer on Long Island, New York, Ama Karikari-Yawson told NBC, “In the past, the regulations existed, but African-Americans often conformed through haircuts, wigs, and relaxers.

“Now, more of us are choosing not to conform, and so the conflicts are coming to light.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 5, 2021


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