Arizona Governor Bans Hair Discrimination with Executive Order

Bryan Dijkhuizen

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs announced on Friday that she will sign an executive order to prohibit discrimination based on hair texture or style in employment, education, and public accommodations.

The order will make Arizona the ninth state to enact such a ban, following California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Maryland, and Illinois.

Hair discrimination is a form of racial discrimination that targets people who wear natural or protective hairstyles associated with their race or ethnicity, such as afros, braids, locs, and twists.

According to the CROWN Act campaign, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, hair discrimination can have negative impacts on people's self-esteem, mental health, career opportunities, and educational outcomes.

Hobbs said that her decision was inspired by the stories of students who faced hair discrimination at school, such as Ruby Williams in London and Jett Hawkins in Chicago. Williams was repeatedly sent home from school for wearing her natural afro hair, while Hawkins was told that his braids violated a school policy.

Both cases resulted in legal action and settlements with the schools involved.

"I believe that everyone should be able to express their identity and culture through their hair without fear of being judged or penalized," Hobbs said in a statement. "No one should have to change their natural hair to fit into someone else's standards of professionalism or beauty."

Hobbs also said that her executive order is a step towards passing a CROWN Act in Arizona, which would amend the state's civil rights law to explicitly include hair texture and style as protected characteristics. A bill to do so was introduced in the state legislature earlier this year but did not advance.

The CROWN Act movement has gained momentum across the country since 2019 when California became the first state to pass such a law.

In March 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a federal version of the CROWN Act, but it has not been taken up by the Senate. Advocates for ending hair discrimination say that it is necessary to recognize and celebrate the diversity of hair textures and styles among different racial and ethnic groups.

They also say that it is important to educate people about what hair discrimination is and how it affects people's lives. "Hair discrimination is not just about hair," said Dove Cameron Smith, one of the founders of World Afro Day, a campaign that promotes positive representation of afro hair. "It's about identity, culture and human rights."

Thanks for reading this article. If there are any updates released I will keep you updated.

If you like my content, you can signup for my free newsletter below.

    Comments / 3

    Published by

    Sharing the latest local stories related to the economy, politics and more


    More from Bryan Dijkhuizen

    Comments / 0