Monday, March 7, 2022

Minnesota House Passes Bill Banning Hair-Based Discrimination


The Minnesota House of Representatives recently passed ground-breaking legislation with bipartisan support. The “CROWN" Act, an acronym standing for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair," adds hairstyle-- and texture-- to a provision in the Minnesota Human Rights Act that prohibits racial discrimination in housing, employment and education, among other areas. It will now be illegal to discriminate against someone because of their hairstyle in the North Star state. Finally! Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we’re free at last!

No longer will redheads be denied service at fast food restaurants. Telling a blonde joke will be punishable by law. Minneapolis cops will start sporting tall, iridescent mohawks. Call someone “baldy” at your own risk.

The bill passed 104-25. Prior to the vote, Rep. Esther Agbaje, the bill’s author, stated: “At the heart of this bill is the ability to allow more people to show up as their authentic selves in school or in the workplace without fear of repercussions because of their hair.” Power to our authentic selves, sister!

 According to a coalition of organizations campaigning for the legislation, fourteen other progressive states have enacted similar laws against unfair hair discrimination.

The Minnesota bill follows national legislation pursued last year by Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. Omar, in conjunction with four other Black congresswomen, reintroduced similar legislation in the House and sent a letter to Vice President Kamala Harris asking for her support. Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, has reintroduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Rumor has it that the Crown Act was originally dubbed the “HIRSUTE resolution,” which was to stand for “Hair Is Racially Sensitive Understand That Everyone, but apparently a couple of representatives balked at the moniker, claiming it was too long.

Piercings, studs, tattoos…whatever…we have the right to bear them however, wherever, and whenever we wish, and in any quantity or configuration. Hair, too. This goes for facial and pubic hair, as well. It is the only way we can be our authentic selves.

The Minnesota House of Representatives is also rumored to be considering a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on nose size, freckle density, eyelash color, or philtrum length.

Power to the people. And their authentic selves.

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