Natural hair discrimination against African Americans


Sanaa Griggs, Staff Reporter

When you think of people being discriminated against, it is because of the color of their skin, but in reality, it can mean many things. Lately in the news, Africa Americans have been discriminated against because of how differently they wear their hair because it is considered to be “too long,”or “too messy looking,” to wear to school. Since this has become an issue, many people feel the need to make their hair appeal to others rather than themselves. In schools, they either have to make their hair look better or even cut it. Many people do not understand the meaning of hair discrimination and do not get the point of why people are getting upset over an important topic. Discrimination that is based on diffierent hair textures are a form of a social injustice. It is known  worldwide, to target black people, black people who have afro-textured hair that has not been chemically straightened. Women with afro-textured hair have been seen as being unprofessional, unattractive, and unclean lately in the news. 

A boy in New Jersey was forced to cut his hair or he had to forfeit his wrestling match and his family is placing blame on the referee. Also, a  six year-old boy in Florida was not accepted to a private Christian academy on the first day of school because his hair was past his ear.

Both kids were African Americans and just wanted to show off their hair that they feel comfortable wearing to school, instead, the schools judged them and did not approve of the way their hair looked and made them both  cut it. Which can make kids feel uncomfortable as their natural hair state is not acceptable to some standards. 

California was to first introduced the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act in Jan. 2019 by Senator Holly Mitchell, it is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hair styles and hair textures. The CROWN Act has expanded the definition of race for the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and California Education Code to ensure protection of workplaces in K-12 public and charter schools.

New York is the second state to introduce the CROWN Act, under the leadership of Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright and Governor Andrew Cuomo signed this act into a law on July 12, deeming the legislation effective immediately. 

New Jersey became the third state to enact the CROWN Act. State Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight championed the legislation and Governor Phil Murphy signed the CROWN act into law on Dec. 19.The one-year anniversary of the wrestling match where New Jersey high school wrestler Andrew Johnson’s locks were forcibly cut off. 

A lot of jobs prefer women to look professional and have straight hair when you apply for a job, but when an African American comes to apply for jobs with either soft curls, braids, or locks they call it unprofessional and they won’t expect them unless they change their hair. A lot of  women do not like to put chemicals or heat in their hair because it will damage it’s texture. 

“All the time! When I just have it in an Afro I feel like people think I do not take care of it because I don’t put as much effort into doing that. It is just pretty simple to me. I feel like when people see me wear my natural hair they expect to see these long loose curls, when my hair is not like that,” Senior Michonni Ward said.

“I am 1000% comfortable with wearing my natural hair at school and at work. When I am not being lazy I try to be as creative as I can with my hair. I feel like it defines who I am,” Ward said. 

“At first because it was kind of shunned especially if you have tighter curls but I feel like social media has slowly started glamorizing natural hair so you occasionally get judged but not as much,” alumna Makayla Sumrall said.