On Thursday, California lawmakers passed a bill protecting black folks from hair discrimination, an important step in decriminalizing blackness.
Huffington Post reports that the state assembly passed the CROWN Act, which prohibits both employers and schools from enforcing discriminatory policies that penalize black people for wearing their hair naturally. Specifically, those who wear ethnic hairstyles such as dreadlocks, braids, or afros.
Should Gov. Gavin Newsom sign the bill into law, California would become the first state in the country to ban discrimination based on black hair.
The bill was proposed by Senator Holly Mitchell, who took to Twitter to run a much-deserved victory lap after the bill was passed.
“Our #CROWNS rule,” she wrote on Twitter. “Passed the Assembly today. On its way to @GavinNewsom desk! California set to be first state to protect black people from natural hair discrimination”
In February, the New York City Commission on Human Rights released guidelines that categorize discriminatory policies against any hairstyle within a workplace, school or public space as exactly what they are—tenets of anti-black racism.
But thanks to Sen. Mitchell, California is taking further steps to protect black people from being penalized for being our best selves.
“Eurocentric standards of beauty have established the very underpinnings of what was acceptable and attractive in the media, in academic settings, and in the workplace,” Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times. “So even though African Americans were no longer explicitly excluded from the workplace, black features and mannerisms remained unacceptable and ‘unprofessional.’”