According to a 2019 study by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, Black women reported being 30% more likely to receive a formal grooming policy in the workplace regarding wearing their hair in a natural state. Natural hair is relaxer-free hair that hasn’t been chemically straightened with a relaxer (sometimes loosely called a perm). When you have natural hair, you’re wearing your hair in its natural state. The survey also found that hairstyles related to Black identity, including locs, braids and natural curls, are perceived less professional. How can we support Black women and the natural hair movement?
1. Wearing natural hair should be viewed and accepted as a personal choice. Hair discrimination is rooted in systemic racism. As we move to a more inclusive environment, natural hair should be accepted and supported.
2. Hair touching is a no-no. Imagine someone running their fingers through your hair. It’s inappropriate and unprofessional. While some styles may be interesting, a hands-off approach respects the space of others. Respect can also be given by not making unnecessary or negative comments.
3. Laws are being put in place to protect the rights of those wearing natural hair styles in the workplace and school settings. The House passed the CROWN ACT, a bill banning discrimination on race-based hairdos. In fact, seven states have passed laws to ban natural hair discrimination.
The study also found that 80% of black women were more likely to change their hair to meet social norms or expectations and are 1.5 times more likely to have reported being sent home because of their hair. The right to present one’s authentic self to the world should be encouraged, supported and should be viewed as a basic human right. Follow the Crown Coalition to learn more about this important work at thecrownact.com.