UPDATE: 12:43 p.m. EDT, Feb. 8 —
Texas could be the next state to pass the hair discrimination bill. Following a press conference on Thursday, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus announced that the bill will be introduced during the next legislative session, CROWN Coalition advocate Adjoa Asamoah told NewsOne.
In an interview with nytimes.com/aponline/2020/02/07/us/ap-us-dreadlocks-school-suspension.htmls, Asamoah said that the The CROWN Act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, “protects against unjust grooming policies that have a disparate impact on Black children, women, and men in workplaces and public schools.”
The instances of Black folks, regardless of age, being discriminated against because of their hair appears to be an epidemic, despite some states enforcing a law that prohibits these repulsive actions. A second teenager at a Texas high school was suspended and told that he could not return to school until he cut off his locs, which would then allow for him to be in compliance with the school’s dress code, NBC News reports. This situation is eerily similar to the two sisters in Harlem who were not allowed to participate in their “Black Nutcracker” play because their hair was in braids, the Black student on the wrestling team in New Jersey who cut his hair in order to compete and unfortunately, the list goes on.
Kaden Bradford, a 16-year-old sophomore at Barbers High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas is the latest case made public of a person of color (read: Black person) being punished because their hair doesn’t fit the “norm” dictated by a white authoritarian. He has been on in-home suspension since last week.
The high school is 3.1 percent Black, according to school district data.
The first teenager at a Texas high school who was subjected to the same discrimination was Bradford’s cousin, DeAndre Arnold, a senior at the same school who also wears his hair in locs. Arnold was told by the school’s administration that he would not be able to walk in his graduation if he did not cut his hair, his mother told a Houston NBC affiliate.
Bradford’s mother said that he has worn his hair in locs for years and it was not an issue with the high school until recently. Meanwhile, Arnold’s mother said that her son wore his hair in a headband to prevent it from touching his shoulders, which as told by the school would not be against their policy. Arnold, whose father is from Trinidad, said he’s worn his locs for years, similar to many of the men in his family. “I really like that part of Trinidadian culture,” he said. “So, I mean I really embrace that.”
The mothers, who are sisters, said they will not be cutting their sons’ hair.
In December, two Harlem sisters, April and Brooke, were banned from a production of the “Black Nutcracker” at the Uptown Dance Academy because they chose to wear their hair in braids. Lisa Skinner, the mother of the 9-year-old and 10-year-old girls, was told that their hair must be secured for safety reasons. However, her daughters were apparently told that their hair cannot be in braids, even if it is placed in a bun, per the suggested safety precaution.
The young girls were expelled from the dance program.
In December of 2018, Andrew Johnson, a Black student on his high school wrestling team in New Jersey, was told by referee Alan Maloney to cut off his locs or he could not compete in the wrestling match. The footage of him cutting his hair was seen across social media.
New Jersey signed the bill on the one-year anniversary of the Johnson off his locs so that he could compete in the match.
California, New York and New Jersey are the only states to have banned racial discrimination against hairstyles, thus far.
See the timeline below: