BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – People in Louisiana may soon be protected from discrimination based on having a natural hairstyle.
According to the 2021 Dove CROWN Research for girls, 47 percent of Black mothers report experiencing discrimination related to their hair.
“You might want to keep it straight and then pull it back in a bun. You don’t want to scare them off,” said State Representative Candace Newell.
House Bill 1083, authored by State Representative Candace Newell, was designed to ensure such discrimination would cease.
“(The bill) is inspired by the Crown Act, which is a national movement, and CROWN stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,and that’s what this is,” Newell said.
According to the 2021 Dove CROWN Research for girls, 86 percent of Black teens who experience prejudice say they’ve faced discrimination based on their hair by the age of 12.
The legislation expands the definition of discrimination to include natural, protective, and cultural hairstyles for Louisiana’s students and workers.
“If there is any form of inequality it’s a problem for everyone,” said State Representative Delisha Boyd.
Delisha Boyd has only been a State Representative for seven months. She too has natural hair and decided to run for state rep because House Bill 1083 failed last year. She wanted to make sure this bill would protect people that look like her.
“It’s so monumental and its a form of freedom. it’s crazy that we are talking about freedom in 2022,” Boyd said.
The 2021 Dove CROWN Research for girls explains that 100 percent of Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools who report experiencing hair discrimination state they experience the discrimination by the age of ten.
As for Newell, she believes this will help everyone feel invited into the state of Louisiana.
She emphasized this by saying, “When you’re confident in yourself it spills over into your work and how you perform your job and the product that you produce at that job or even at school”
Studies indicate that 66 percent of Black girls in majority-white schools have experienced hair discrimination, compared to 45 percent of Black girls in all school environments.
According to the 2021 Dove CROWN Research for girls, 53 percent of Black mothers, whose daughters have experienced hair discrimination say their daughters experienced the discrimination as early as the age of five.
House Bill 1083 passed in the Louisiana Senate by a 29-4 vote Friday.
The nay voters were State Senator Michael Fesi, State Senator Sharon Hewitt, State Senator Robert Mills, and State Senator Glen Womack.
Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign the bill into law.
Boyd indicated that it was only because Black people from both sides of the aisle came together that this bill was able to pass, saying, “That we can do whatever we put our head to and we are more powerful together than apart.”
While research reveals that 90 percent of Black girls believe their hair is beautiful, the microaggressions and discrimination these individuals endure has a significant impact on how they view themselves.