The Biden administration announced support for the Crown Act by U.S. MP Bonnie Watson Coleman on Tuesday, weeks after the bill was not passed in the House of Representatives due to a lack of Republican votes.
The CROWN Act, or the Respect for an Open and Open World for Natural Hair, was introduced in both houses of Congress by Watson Coleman (D-6) and U.S. Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) in 2021. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act and other laws, the bill would make it a federal crime to discriminate against those who wear hairstyles associated with the black community. These include afro, braids, cornrow, locks and other styles.
The bill was first introduced in Congress in 2019 by Booker, a year after referee Alan Maloney told Buena high school student Andrew Johnson that he could not fight in a match because he had dreadlocks. Johnson was clipped to fight, and the judge was later dismissed. While the bill was passed in the House of Representatives and was not passed in the Senate, New Jersey passed its own bill to combat hair discrimination after the incident.
The CROWN Act was reinstated last year following the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement since the summer of 2020, as well as an increase in reports that black Americans are being discriminated against because of the way they wear their hair.
According to a 2019 JOY Collective report, black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work for hairstyles than their non-black counterparts. The study also found that black women are 80% more likely to feel the need to change natural hair in the workplace.
“Too often black people, especially black women and girls, are ridiculed or considered unprofessional simply because their hair does not meet the standards of white beauty,” Watson Coleman said on the floor of the House of Representatives when the bill was put to a vote last day. month of black history in February.
White House support
The White House’s statement of support is a symbolic gesture of support for the bill, drawing attention to it after previous attempts to make it a law have failed.
The CROWN Act was reintroduced in 2021 through a fast-track regime reserved for controversial bills, and its adoption required two-thirds of the overwhelming majority. However, the vote ended 235-188 because there was not enough support from the Republican Party. MP Lauren Bobert (Colorado) rejected the bill, calling it a “bad hair bill.”
A coalition of black Democratic women in Congress – representing Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayana Presley (Massachusetts), Barbara Lee (California), Gwen Moore (Wisconsin) and Watson Coleman – said in a statement that they would re-introduce the bill if he could. with a simple majority of votes.
“We will return the Crown Act and adopt it by a simple majority. We will not allow the antics of Republicans to stand in the way of black people who have the right to live as they are, ”Watson Coleman wrote on Twitter.