It’s still upsetting to learn that wearing our natural hair in the workplace or at school is deemed unacceptable. While many people may have thought that we made certain strides when it comes to discrimination, we’re constantly reminded on a daily basis that there is much work left to do. Case in point: Gabrielle Union’s firing from America’s Got Talent.
However, with the natural hair discrimination ban spreading across multiple states in the U.S., New Jersey has just added their names to the list. That’s right. New Jersey is the third state alongside New York and California to put this law into action. The New Jersey Assembly Labor Committee have officially passed a bill that effectively bans discrimination against a person based on hairstyle or hair texture. Before it can be enacted in law, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy must sign the bill, which we can expect to happen in the next few days.
NBC News reports that the bill aims to “protect people of color facing discrimination based on their hairstyle” and would amend the Law Against Discrimination so that the term “race” includes “traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles,” a press release states.
While this news is indeed something to celebrate, we truly hope that the other states follow suit. With so many celebrities stealing our hair ideas and passing them off as their own and being praised for it, it’s only right that we are allowed to wear our manes freely without any discourse. For example, the teenage athlete who had to cut his dreads or be disqualified from his wrestling match should have never had to experience that.
“Unfortunately, it’s all too common for African Americans and people of color to be subjected to discrimination at work or school for wearing their hair in braids, twists and dreadlocks or embracing their natural curls,” Democratic Rep Angela McKnight shares. “With this legislation, the student would have been protected from this kind of discrimination under the law. It’s time we enshrine these values into our law.”
As a Black woman, it’s truly exhausting and discouraging to see that these measures need to be taken for us to feel comfortable in our own skin. The natural hair that grows from our scalps or beautiful, whether it’s wavy or kinky from the roots to our ends. And nothing will ever change that.
What say you? Are you happy about the New Jersey bill against hair discrimination being passed? Do you think society will come to accept our kinky texture? Sound off below!