The Crown Act Was Just Passed by the House of Representatives. Now It’s Up to the Senate

On Friday, March 18, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, which would ban race-based hair discrimination in employment and in federal programs like public housing. In other words, your boss wouldn’t be allowed to ban bantu knots under the guise of “professionalism.”

“Natural Black hair is often deemed ‘unprofessional’ simply because it does not conform to white beauty standards,” Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement, per CNN. “Discrimination against Black hair is discrimination against Black people.”

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The bill is already law in many states but, if passed federally, would apply countrywide. However, this is not the first time the important piece of legislation has reached this stage. In September 2020, the CROWN Act passed the House but didn’t get a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. After the 2020 election, the Senate is now split 50-50 (50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents who typically vote with the Democrats), with Vice President Kamala Harris in control of any tie-breaking vote. Since the Biden administration supports the act, per CNN, it has a much better chance of getting—and winning—a vote this time around.

On the House floor before the vote, Representative Cori Bush of Missouri explained the bill’s impact, saying, “As a Black woman who loves my braids, I know what it’s like to feel isolated because of how I wear my hair. This is the last time we say no more to Black people being demeaned and discriminated against for the same hairstyles that corporations profit from. No more to Black people being made to feel like we have cut our locs just to get a job. This is the last time we say no more to Black people being made to feel like we have to straighten our hair to be deemed professional.”


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