Skip to content
Dove Hair discrimination starts as early as five

The CROWN Research Study for Girls

No one should be punished for the way their hair grows naturally from their head. From natural to braided hairstyles, and every other beautiful protective style in between, no one should be made to feel ‘less than’ or be bullied because their beauty doesn’t fit a standard or ideal. However, it’s no secret that discrimination against Black natural hair still exists. Our latest report reveals that race-based hair discrimination can start as early as five years old – and can last a lifetime. It’s time to do everything in our power to confront this.


Sign the CROWN Act petition today

It starts young

Our new research shows that 53% of Black mothers say their daughters have experienced race-based hair discrimination as early as five years old. The study also demonstrates that 66% of Black children in majority-white schools have faced race-based hair discrimination – and 86% of those children have experienced it by the age of 12. 

From formal school policies that ban hairstyles inherent to Black culture, to microaggressions from teachers and classmates, Black children are unfairly targeted every day. Harmful comments and emotional bullying can impact Black children when it comes to developing self-confidence – and the effects can seriously impact self-esteem well into adulthood. Our report reveals that 100% of Black elementary school girls in majority-white schools (who report experiencing hair discrimination) experienced discrimination by the age of 10. This harmful discrimination can last throughout a person’s lifetime, both in terms of experiencing discrimination, as well as the long-term effects it can have on confidence and self-esteem. We need to stand together to tackle the root of the problem. We need to create systemic change to protect generations to come.

It continues into adulthood

Race-based hair discrimination can start in childhood – but it rarely ends there. For many Black adults, race-based hair discrimination is still a part of day-to-day life. Black women are 1.5x more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair. This is something we can’t ignore. No one should be denied opportunities, or be unfairly targeted because of their natural hair texture or protective styles. No one should have to endure this treatment at school, at work, or anywhere else.

Developing self-confidence

Learning how to be confident is an essential part of growing up. But early experiences of discrimination can have a negative impact on building self-esteem. Our report reveals that despite 90% of Black children stating that their hair is beautiful, 81% of Black children in majority-white schools say they sometimes wish their hair was straight. Why? Every day, Black children are vulnerable to microaggressions from classmates and teachers, like being told to “straighten kinky hair” or that natural hairstyles need to be “tamed”. This is never okay.

The Dove Self-Esteem Project is committed to providing tools to increase confidence and boost self-image in Black children. My Hair, My CROWN is a tool for parents, teachers and mentors to boost hair love and confidence in kids with curls, coils and waves – and to build allyship in others. Download the workshop and support the next generation in building self-esteem.

Unfair school policies that ban natural Black hair and protective hairstyles need to be addressed. It’s our responsibility to come together and do everything we can to create a safe, respectful and open school environment – free from discrimination.

It’s time to act now

In the US, many states do not give protection for race-based hair discrimination, even if the natural hairstyle is inherent to racial identity. We co-founded the CROWN Coalition in 2019 to advance anti-hair discrimination legislation called ‘The CROWN Act’. This is a law that prohibits discrimination based on natural hair texture and protective hairstyles.

We’re calling on everyone to join us and take action against race-based hair discrimination. Together, we can drive more positive outcomes for the next generation. Sign The CROWN Act petition and help make race-based hair discrimination illegal in schools and workplaces across the US.

Race-based discrimination can happen as early as five. It can last a lifetime. And it needs to change now.

Hello, what are you looking for?