Tenn. lawmakers to discuss bill aiming to end race-based hair discrimination

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Posted at 10:29 AM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 11:29:15-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A bill to end race-based hair discrimination will be heard by state lawmakers on Tuesday.

Supporters of the Crown Act say society’s bias has resulted in unfair judgment and discrimination against Black women based on hair texture and protective hairstyles. This is why they want this bill to pass here in the Volunteer State.

The Crown Act stands for Creating a Respectful & Open World with No racism. If passed the bill would "create a respectful and open world for natural hair" to define race and protective hairstyle for purposes of the Tennessee Human Rights Act.

Personal care brand Dove reports a Black woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work. Black women are 1.5 more times likely to be sent home or know of a Black woman sent home from the workplace because of her hair.

Rep. Karen Camper, D - Memphis, says this bill doesn't seek to create a protected class, it does amend the definition of race to include traits like hair texture and protective hairstyles like locks, braids and twists.

"Nobody should be told how to wear their hair, as long as it's associated with their culture. And that's what this is designed to do. You shouldn't be fired because of it, lose promotions because of your natural hair," said Camper.

Similar bills are still being heard in other states too and eight states have a CROWN Act law in effect right now.