The House passed the Crown Act, prohibiting hair-related discrimination.
The measure, H.R. 2116, which Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman introduced, passed in a vote of 235-189 along party lines.
CROWN stands for: Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. The CROWN Act was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition to protect against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists and knots in the workplace and public schools.
According to a 2019 Dove CROWN Research Study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.
“Here we are today, standing on behalf of those individuals, whether my colleagues on the other side recognize it or not, are discriminated against as children in school, as adults who are trying to get jobs, individuals who are trying to get housing, individuals who simply want access to public accommodations and to be beneficiaries of federally-funded programs,” Watson said in remarks on the House floor Friday morning. “And why are they denied these opportunities? Because there are folks in this society who get to make those decisions who think because you’re hair is kinky, it is braided, it is in knots or it is not straight and blonde and light brown, that you somehow are not worthy of access to those issues.”
“Well, that’s discrimination. There’s no logical reason that anyone should be discriminated against on any level because of the texture of their hair or the style of their hair,” Watson Coleman said.
Earlier this month, the bill was introduced to the House but failed to secure enough votes. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration. President Joe Biden has urged legislators to pass the law swiftly.
“Over the course of our Nation’s history, society has used hair texture and hairstyle— along with race, national origin and skin color— to discriminate against individuals,” a statement from the Executive Office of the President reads.
It continues: “Pernicious forms of systemic racism persist when dress and grooming codes, for example, prohibit hair texture or hairstyle that is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin. Such discrimination has imposed significant economic costs, learning disruption, and denial of economic opportunities for people of color. Black women, for example, experience discrimination in hiring because of natural hair styles, and Black girls experience disproportionate rates of school discipline, sometimes for discriminatory hair violations.”