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What is hair discrimination?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Discrimination

Many forms of discrimination still, unfortunately, exist across the nation, and this can sometimes saturate the workplace, too.

Some people do not even know that they are engaging in discriminatory behavior, though. This is often the issue when it comes to hair-based discrimination in specific.

How did hair discrimination start?

The Society for Human Resource Management discusses means of stopping hair discrimination in its tracks. First of all, what is hair discrimination?

In short, over the years, certain hairstyles and textures got conflated with certain races or ethnicities. Due to discriminatory bias, some of these hairstyles and textures got deemed unfit for the workplace, or unprofessional.


Acts like the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act attempt to address this subtle discrimination. It addresses the issue of people with natural or ethnic hair routinely getting turned down for jobs specifically because of their hair.

Under the CROWN Act, numerous types of ethnic hairstyles and hair types will see new protections. This includes things like Bantu knots, braids, cornrows, twists, Afros, locks or hair worn in a tightly coiled or curled style.

Acts like this ensure that no one with ethnic hair ends up knocked out of the running for a job just due to their hair alone. It protects any hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with any particular national origin or race, especially African Americans.

This bipartisan bill will help make a more fair environment for workers of all ethnicities and will help bring light to, and end, smaller microaggressions at work.

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