Black hair is beautiful! It's time for America to stop telling us otherwise
Black children across America are being humiliated because of racist policies that discriminate against natural hairstyles. Last year, 6 year-old Clinton Stanley Jr. was sent home from A Book’s Christian Academy for having dreadlocks,1 and 11 year old Faith Finnedy was sent home from her school, Christ the King for wearing box braids.2 These policies shape the way Black kids see themselves and give permission to racist institutions and educators to discriminate against them without repercussion.
We at Color Of Change know that the only way to truly end these unjust and racist practices is for a nationwide precedent to be set. That’s why Color Of Change has partnered with the CROWN Coalition to fight hair discrimination against Black folks across the country! We won in California and New York, now we are fighting for federal protections to end hair discrimination nationwide.
Every day, Black folks are being robbed of employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and our dignity because employers and institutions can code their racism in dress code policies and concepts like ‘professionalism’ that were designed to keep us out.Hair discrimination is not just happening in schools. Earlier this year, Kerion Washington, a Black Texas teen, was denied a job at Six Flags because they deemed his shoulder length locs an “extreme” hairstyle.3 The only thing extreme here is the efforts that institutions and corporations like Six Flags will take to control and regulate Black self expression.
Black people are still expected to conform to white standards of beauty and expression. This shapes how we see ourselves and fuels the narrative that our hair and our skin are embodiments of our oppression, when they are actually embodiments of our pride. We deserve to wear our hair in ways that feel celebratory of our personal power who we are as a people.
Right now, it is completely legal to discriminate against Black people for wearing natural hair in 2019 in all but two states in America. Join us in creating real change in our lifetime. These policies shape the way Black kids see themselves and gives permission to institutions and bigoted educators to discriminate against them without repercussion. Let’s build a world where they can be who they are without facing hostility or backlash. We at Color Of Change know that the only way to truly end these unjust and racist practices is for a nationwide precedent to be set.
Until justice is real,
--Janaya, Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Jade, Evan, Johnny, Corina, Chad, Marcus, FolaSade, Eesha, and the rest of the Color Of Change team