GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — According to the 2019 Dove CROWN Research Study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair.
In addition, Black women are 80% more likely than white women to change their hair from its natural state in order to fit in at the office. This is why lawmakers, stylists and community leaders all across the country are hoping to shine a light on this issue and create change.
“I have felt like before I went to an interview, like, can I wear my hair like this? Are they going to discriminate against me because I have my hair curly or I have these braids in,” said Tiffany Ross, a natural hairstylist in Grand Rapids. “I shouldn’t have to feel like that, but I’m also going to own it because that’s who I am.”
“Unfortunately, this is an issue,” said Cindy Beresford, another natural hairstylist in West Michigan. “Something as simple as wearing your hair the way God designed it to come out of your head, like that baffles me. I don’t even understand honestly why it’s an issue.”
The CROWN Act, first passed in California, stands for ‘Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.’ The purpose is to prohibit race-based hair discrimination, which would be the denial of employment because of a person’s natural hair texture, including curls, braids, locks and twists.
The law has passed in seven states and cities so far and has also been passed by the U.S. House. In Michigan, a similar bill has been introduced, but has yet to become law.
“We shouldn’t have to have an act like that in the first place,” said Ross. “We should just be able to be ourselves and be able to wear our hair and not feel like we’re going to be discriminated upon because of our hair. But I guess it’s also a good thing because they’re making awareness to it because it’s still going to happen.”
These two women hope by sharing their experiences, people will become more accepting and make the workplace a better environment for everyone.
“I hope it brings more awareness and change and that people can see it and recognize it and shift their mindsets,” said Beresford.
More information on the CROWN Act and its progress can be found online.