Montgomery County, Maryland, expanded its human rights legislation on Thursday, making it the first in the US to ban hairstyle discrimination on a local level. Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando told ABC Washington D.C. station WTOP the bill expands the definition of race to include natural hairstyles commonly worn by Black people. "We have over 200,000 black and Latina women in Montgomery County, many of whom get up every day and make decisions about how they are going to present themselves to the world," Jawando told WTOP. Black people across the US have reported countless instances of racial discrimination on both an individual and systemic level based on wearing common natural hairstyles like Afros, twists, Bantu knots, and braids. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Montgomery County, Maryland, became the first in the United States to ban hairstyle discrimination on a local level on Thursday. In an effort to combat racist policies that prohibit Black people from wearing hairstyles like Afros, cornrows, and braids in schools, companies, and other institutions, city council members passed a bill to expand the definition of race used in their human rights legislation. "It will expand the definition of race to include natural hairstyles, like Afros, twists, Bantu knots and protective hairstyles like braids, that people of African descent wear," Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando said in an interview last year with WTOP. Expanding the definition of race to include hair is a direct response to the wave of discrimination towards Black people across the US for wearing traditional natural hairstyles in schools and workplaces. In December 2018, a New Jersey high school wrestler was forced to cut off his dreadlocks before a match because they were not compliant with regulations. Earlier that year, three young girls were sent home from their Catholic school in New Orleans for wearing braids. With instances of like these being reported across the country, advocates are calling hair discrimination a growing problem for African-Americans. "In the past, the regulations existed, but African-Americans often conformed through haircuts, wigs and relaxers," Ama Karikari-Yawson, a lawyer and diversity trainer on Long Island, New York told NBC. "Now, more of us are choosing not to conform, and so the conflicts are coming to light." The Maryland legislation falls under the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, a legislation that legally bars discrimination based on hair texture and protective styles being championed by lawmakers across the country. "We have over 200,000 black and Latina women in Montgomery County, many of whom get up every day and make decisions about how they are going to present themselves to the world," Jawando told WTOP. While Montgomery County is the first in the US to ban hairstyle discrimination locally, California, New York, and New Jersey have all passed protections at the state level. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker also announced his plan in December 2019 to pass a federal bill banning hairstyle discrimination. Read More: 'Sexual racism' is a major problem on queer dating apps like Grindr, and it may be causing depression in black men An Israeli official told gay dads to pretend to be 'a normal couple' and figure out who should be labeled the 'mother' Podcasters of color are striving to amplify 'the actual voices of marginalized folks'Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What it's like to ride the world's longest flight
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African-American hair has been making headlines for the last few years, usually because another black student...African-American hair has been making headlines for the last few years, usually because another black student has been deemed in violation of the dress code for sporting braids, dreads, or a natural afro. This year’s Oscar-winning animated short, "Hair Love," about an African-American dad’s attempt to stay on top of his 5-year-old daughter’s abundant locks, is […] Watch the Oscar-Winning Animated Short “Hair Love” is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooks, Free Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.
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