In an unanimous decision (69-0), California’s state assembly agreed upon a bill that’ll ban discrimination against natural hairstyles in “workplaces, schools and public places,” NBC News reports. The state became the first in the U.S. to take this stance.
“Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group,” a passage of the mandate outlines.
The bill falls in line with the state’s anti-discrimination law. The news arrives a couple of months after North Dakota passed a bill that protects hair braiders’ right to operate without a license. “The government has no business licensing something as safe and common as braiding or threading hair. By deregulating these practices, HB 1345 will expand economic opportunity, especially for female entrepreneurs and people of color, which in turn will help North Dakota diversify its economy,” Institute for Justice Legislative Counsel Meagan Forbes said, via Black Voice News.
Two years ago, a Massachusetts school was criticized for banning two black girls from attending prom because they wore box braids and declined to take them out. A year before that, students at Pretoria Girls High School in South Africa staged a protest after the school implemented strict policies on prohibiting certain natural hairstyles like afros or box braids, calling for the styles to be flattened by tying it back and “cornrows must run parallel from each other from the forehead to the nape of the neck.”