Can you be discriminated against because of your hairstyle?

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WHEELING W.Va. (WTRF) – Imagine being turned down for a job or kicked out of school because of the way you do your hair.

A recent study shows that 47% of African American mothers say they have experienced discrimination related to their hair.

In schools and workplaces, there are often grooming policies that prohibit natural hairstyles, for example afros, braids, bantu knots and locs are generally unacceptable styles.

According to Dove’s Crown 2021 Research Study for GirlsBlack women are 1.5 times more likely to be fired from the workplace because of their hair.

Ron Scott Jr. is the Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach Program Director at Wheeling YWCA.

He says exposure to hair discrimination can change the way you see yourself and no one should feel that way.

The hairstyles that people normally use or wear are kind of used against that person to already project some sort of image or idea of ​​who that person is just on the look of their hair.

RON SCOTT JR., PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH, WHEELING YWCA

Scott says diversity is beautiful, and by banning specific hairstyles, you’re limiting the expression of her personality and culture.

But there are so many different ways that hairstyles and styling your hair is a way for a person to project some kind of individuality and regulate all that kind of stuff, which gives people the idea that if you are not aligned with what the status quo is visually, then you will not succeed in this society.

RON SCOTT JR., PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH, WHEELING YWCA

Create a respectful and open world for natural hairknown as the CROWN Act, is a law in many states and cities that prohibits hair discrimination based on race.

The first signing of the CROWN Act took place in California in 2019.

Neighboring cities that enforce the CROWN law, including Pittsburgh, Beckley, Charleston, and Morgantown.

Next, we need to change the narrative that professionalism is the high, tight haircut because that’s not it anymore. It could be dreadlocks, braids, nubian knots, natural hair like many black women especially are starting to get into the habit of wearing their hair naturally.

Which means they don’t want the relaxers in their hair to make them look more straight or European in a sense, they just want to wear their hair the way it would naturally and that needs to be encouraged if we’re going to have a a society or a community made up of diverse individuals with diverse ideas, they must also be visually diverse.

RON SCOTT JR., PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH, WHEELING YWCA

He says natural hair and protective styles should be worn without fear. He hopes this law will continue to encourage an end to race-based hair discrimination for all.

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