new york is the second state to ban discrimination against natural hair

Following California, the state passes its own 'CROWN Act' to protect people of color.

by Erica Euse
15 July 2019, 8:19pm

Image from i-D's 'a-z of hair'

Earlier this month, California made history when it became the first state to ban discrimination against natural hairstyles. Now, New York has followed suit, with the passing of a law that "prohibits race discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles."

These discriminatory practices have disproportionately affected black students and employees, who have been forced to follow "race neutral" grooming policies that restrict natural hairstyles, and perpetuate the idea that natural styles are "unprofessional."

The New York Commission on Human Rights introduced new guidelines for protecting natural styles back in February, after employees across New York City filed complaints of discrimination based on their hair. The guidelines, and now the law, which is an amendment to New York state's Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act, will protect "natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

"For much of our nation's history, people of color - particularly women - have been marginalized and discriminated against simply because of their hair style or texture," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "By signing this bill into law, we are taking an important step toward correcting that history and ensuring people of color are protected from all forms of discrimination.”

The movement to end hair discrimination is backed by the CROWN Coalition, which includes members like the National Urban League and Dove. The coalition hopes to end discriminatory grooming rules nationwide, and has introduced another “CROWN Act” in New Jersey.

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