TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A Kansas bill would make it illegal to discriminate based on hair texture or style. The Crown Act stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair”. The goal of the act is to prevent discrimination based on hair in schools, sports and the workplace.
Democratic Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau introduced the bill to the Kansas Senate after hearing stories of discrimination in Kansas and across the country.
“Individuals were fired from their job because of the texture and the style of their hair, their natural hair,” said Senator Faust-Goudeau.
The Senator also points specifically to a story that made national news in 2018 when a high school wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks, in the school gym, in order to compete.
Essence Dickinson from Wichita says she grew up feeling her hair wasn’t good enough.
“It was just ingrained in my head that much that my hair wasn’t as good as someone who had straight hair,” she said.
Dickinson says she would spend hours every day straightening her naturally thick, curly hair. Now, as an adult, she feels uncomfortable going to job interviews with her natural hair.
“They’re not seeing the resume, they’re not seeing the skills, they’re not seeing the qualifications — they’re just simply looking at the hair and saying, ‘oh well, this isn’t professional,'” added Dickinson.
Senator Faust-Goudeau said, “They have a right to look the way that they look or wear their hair the way that it naturally grows.”
Both Senator Faust-Goudeau and Dickinson say they are disappointed that this discrimination still takes place.
“I think that in 2020 that shouldn’t be the case anymore,” said Dickinson.
The Crown Act bill will be discussed at the Committee for Federal and State Affairs on Tuesday, January 28 at 10:30 a.m.