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.