New York Bans Discrimination Against Natural Hair, Becomes Second State To Do So

contributor - Navkiran Dhaliwal (revite network member)

Recently the New York City Commission on Human Rights officially announced a law that bans discrimination by schools, employers, and other public places, based upon natural hair. This law mainly aims to protect African-Americans, who often experience hair-based discrimination.

Chastity Jones, an Alabama woman, reported that she was rejected at a job because she refused to cut her dreadlocks. A top BP executive, Melphine Evans, was fired from her job for having cornrows at the office. 

Similarly, last December, a referee forced Andrew Johnson, a wrestler for the Buena Regional High School Chiefs, to get rid of his dreadlocks.

Similarly, there were several other incidences reported which were causing a viral outrage on the social networking sites. Civil rights lawyers, as well as victims, have long argued how crucial it is to form a law that prevents such behavior.

On July 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill that clearly states that any form of discrimination against the hairstyle and hair texture is wrong by the law.

The passing of this bill has touched the hearts of many women and men, especially those who have been a victim of this discrimination because of the texture of their hair in schools, colleges, or workplaces.

Cuomo says that historically, people of color have been discriminated simply because of their hairstyle and texture. He says that signing this bill is a crucial step towards reforming such behavior and ensure everyone in the state that they are protected from all kinds of discrimination.

New York becomes the second state after California to pass this bill.

At the beginning of July, California enacted the comparable bill, known as The CROWN Act, for creating a respectful and open world for natural hair. Thus, California became the first state to band natural hair discrimination. The state Senate approved the bill, initiated by the National Urban League, which would prohibit schools and employers from banning natural hairstyles, such as dreadlocks, braids, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, etc.

These are considered “natural” hairstyles because unlike chemically styled hair, they don’t alter natural hair texture, which is a racial trait.

Manipulating New York’s new law

While this must not look like a revolutionary law to some people, many communities are contented that the bill is passed. The humanitarians have long shown a lot of concerns over the fact that the people are being discriminated over the natural hair which they are born with.  

People must understand that the hair texture and hairstyle of a person has nothing to do with the person's efficiency and productivity.  Anyone making a comment, remark or forcing a person to get rid of their natural texture of the hair will now be fined heavily. The victim will receive monetary damages for hair discrimination.

This might not stop the people from being mean, but it will put an end to the domination, and the superiority of some people as changing one’s mentality takes some time. This bill will also give self-esteem and self-confidence to people about their hair and life. This will encourage the feeling of body positivity among people. Overall, the main aim of passing this bill is to ensure that everyone has equal rights without being discriminated on the bases of their hair.