Gillibrand proposes federal ban on hair discrimination

New York News

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 06: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) A detail view of the hair of Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP as he talks to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on May 06, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (WETM) — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced co-sponsorship of the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act that would ban discrimination of hairstyles and textures.

The legislation would federally ban race-based discrimination against natural and protective hairstyles associated with people of African descent, including hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled, locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, and Afros.

“For far too long, discrimination and prejudice against Black hair has been used as another tool to create barriers and disenfranchise Black people. No one should ever be criticized, harassed, or punished for their natural hair and heritage,” said Gillibrand. She added, “The CROWN Act would help combat and correct deeply ingrained social biases against Black hair and ensure our children grow up learning to love themselves and their individual beauty.”

Gillibrand cites a study showing that natural Black hairstyles are three times more likely to be seen as unprofessional in women. Black women are also 80% likelier to feel pressure to change their hair, and 50% more likely to be sent home from work because of their natural hair.

Gillibrand announced her support of the bill—led by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker—on Friday. The full text is available below:

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