Mar 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House passes bill to ban race-based hair discrimination

Picture of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The House on Friday passed a legislation aimed at banning racial discrimination related to hairstyles with a 235-189 vote.

Driving the news: Introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act prohibits "discrimination based on a person's hair texture or hairstyle if that style or texture is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin."

  • The hairstyles mentioned in the legislation include those "in which hair is tightly coiled or tightly curled, locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, and Afros."

What she's saying: "Natural Black hair is often deemed ‘unprofessional’ simply because it does not conform to white beauty standards," Coleman said in a statement.

  • "Discrimination against Black hair is discrimination against Black people. I’m proud to have played a part to ensure that we end discrimination against people for how their hair grows out of their head."

The big picture: Black women are more likely to be sent home from work due to their hair, Axios' Russell Contreras reported in 2020, citing a 2019 Dove survey.

  • The survey found that 80% of Black women say they have changed their natural hair to fit in their workplaces.

Zoom in: 15 states and 30 cities have passed similar bills aimed at stopping race-based discrimination, according to Coleman's office. In 2019, California became the first state to ban discrimination on the basis of natural hair styles.

What to watch: The bill now heads to the Senate.

  • The bill had previously passed the House in 2020, but it stalled in the Senate.

Go deeper: Wrapped, dreads or natural: Hair-rights fight moves to states

Go deeper