How to speak out about hair discrimination
Black hair is unique and can be a source of joy and pride. Unfortunately, Black people are regularly discriminated against because of their hair texture and styles. In fact, our research found that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair, and one in two Black children have experienced hair discrimination as early as five years old. There is a growing movement to not only challenge race-based hair bias and discrimination, but make it illegal. Here’s how you can help
Get clued up
From curls and coils to bantu knots and locs, Black hair can be worn in a variety of styles for a variety of reasons. Hair styles may be used as an expression of culture or styles they may be simply chosen to protect that hair from damage. Regardless of the reason for the style, we should all respect one another’s decision to wear our hair the way that suits us best. Read – and then recommend to others – Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri, which offers an essential insight into natural hair discrimination.
Sign the petition
The CROWN Act was co-created in 2019 by Dove to protect Black hairstyles and natural hair from race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and public schools. In March 2022, the House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act – if a companion bill passes in the Senate, it would make race-based hair discrimination illegal. Support the cause by signing campaigns organize and emailing your senator today.
Watch and share
You can explore how narrow beauty standards negatively impact girls with Black and textured hair from an early age by watching Dove’s moving and powerful short film As Early As Five by director Aisha Ford. This film was inspired by real-life events of hair discrimination in schools and work. Watch video and share on your social media to raise awareness of the CROWN Act.
Dove research found that even though 90% of Black girls believe their hair is beautiful, the micro-aggressions and hair discrimination they experience impacts their self-esteem and body confidence. Help your daughter embrace exactly who she is by getting her to write down what is unique and special about her. Download the My Hair, My CROWN toolkit for ideas to help boost hair confidence.
If you’re a parent, help your child embrace natural hairstyles. You can also encourage then to think about how they might feel if they weren’t allowed to embrace their own natural hair and teach them to speak up for those who cannot.
Push for reform
No one should have to face natural hair discrimination. However, Black women are 80% more likely to change their natural hair to meet expectations at work. The Legal Defense Fund suggests that workplaces and institutions review their appearance policies and remove references to specifically prohibited ethnic hairstyles. Talk to managers or unite with colleagues to push for this.
Be an ally
True allyship means being prepared to call out discrimination when you see it, whether this is in your school, social group or job. Allyship also means standing in solidarity with those who are affected by discrimination.