Respect Diversity + Inclusion

North Carolina counties vote to ban hairstyle discrimination

black lives matter CROWN Act north carolina hair discrimination ban measures policy states house senate
Protesters take part in a Black Lives Matter protest on June 18, 2020 in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • Durham and Greensboro Counties in North Carolina voted to ban discrimination based on hairstyles.
  • The CROWN Act passed the U.S. House in 2020.

Two North Carolina city councils voted unanimously Tuesday to enact legislative measures to protect people who wear hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks and afros from discrimination. 

The Associated Press reports that the Durham City Council voted to ban employers from discriminating current or potential employees based on hairstyles. 

“It is absolutely a form of racial discrimination,” said Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry, who helped push for the legal protections. “There’s probably a very, very small percentage of Black women who can tell you that they haven’t felt some form of discrimination based on how they’ve chosen to wear their hair. Your grooming is talked about when you go out on interviews.”

 

 

In addition to hairstyles, these protections extend to gender identity, sexual orientation and military status, among other qualifiers.  

In near lockstep, Greensboro City Council passed a similar ordinance, along with Orange County, although the latter does not specifically ban hairstyle discrimination. 

More states have taken the initiative to ban discrimination based on hairstyles and textures, namely California, New York, Virginia and New Jersey. 

On the federal level, the CROWN Act — an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair — passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is pending a vote from the Senate.