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What You Need to Know About the Crown Act.
What You Need to Know About the Crown Act.
Kerane Marcellus
November 15, 2022
2 min

The Crown Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, is a bill that advocates for Black people with textured hair to stop getting discriminated against in work and educational spaces. Hairstyles like braids, twists, locs, Bantu knots, cornrows, and Afros have been discriminated against to the point where people have not been able to go to school, get jobs or get fired from jobs or barred from competing in competitions, and so on.

In the words of Toni Morrison, “the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being.” Since there have been so many incidents of people being barred from completing tasks or learning, the Crown Act has been the solution to discrimination. The Crown Act is also challenging the notion of what is considered to be professionalism which is often equated to whiteness.

Introduced in 2019 by Senator Holly Mitchell, the Crown Act has now been enacted into law in 18 states which include California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, New Mexico, Nevada, Nebraska, Oregon, Illinois, Maine, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. The hope is that the bill would be passed at a federal level if approved by the Senate, making it a law for all 50 states to protect Black people who wear their hair in natural hairstyles. Originally the Crown Act was passed solely in California and it was the first legislation passed to protect against hair discrimination — so big strides have been made, and it should keep going further.

The impact of hair discrimination may have gone unnoticed for some time but what needs to be understood is that it can not only undermine a young person’s self-esteem but also shatter the opportunities and potential that Black people have and have had for centuries. In a study by Dove in 2019, co-founder of the Crown Act coalition, it says that hair discrimination can start as early as five years old and 100% of Black girls in majority white schools experience hair discrimination at 10 years old from detentions, suspensions, being asked to leave; the Crown Act is in place to protect against these exact experiences and ensures that they won’t happen again. Black people with textured hair have believed that to be deemed professional in corporate work spaces they would have to change their hair, whether it be to straighten it, cut it, or wear wigs in order to “fit in the office.” In the same study it was found that Black women’s hair was three times more likely to be seen as unprofessional.

The importance of the Crown Act may seem trivial to some but again it’s a waste of many people’s time, Black people, to have to worry about the significance of their hair to other people’s subjection while just trying to learn or earn a living. It is now a vital source of protection and should be in place in all 50 states.

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Kerane Marcellus

Kerane Marcellus


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