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Congress moves to ban hair-related racial discrimination

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(Washington) The elected members of the American House of Representatives voted on Friday to prohibit any type of racial discrimination based on haircuts (afro cut, braids, dreadlocks).

This bill explicitly aims to protect African-Americans who are victims of regulations imposing certain cuts on them, in particular at school or in their workplace.

“As a black woman who loves her braids, I know what it’s like to feel rejected because of my haircut,” said Missouri elected official Cori Bush just before the vote.


PHOTO JEFF ROBERSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Democratic Rep. Cori Bush

Examples of this type of discrimination are numerous in the United States: at the end of 2019, a black teenager from Texas was suspended from high school and threatened with expulsion if he did not cut his dreadlocks deemed too long, a sanction that had sparked heated debate and accusations of racist prejudice.

During a school wrestling tournament in December 2018, a referee also ordered a black schoolboy to cut his hair under penalty of disqualification, arguing that his hairstyle was not regulatory.

Critics of the bill, such as Republican Jim Jordan, however, have accused Democrats of “steering away from issues that concern Americans” such as inflation or the price at the pump.

“I think it’s entirely possible to take care of both [chantiers] at the same time, ”retorted elected official Sheila Jackson Lee.


PHOTO SARAHBETH MANEY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

The bill also has the support of Joe Biden.

“The President believes that no one should be denied the opportunity to obtain a job, to succeed in school or in the workplace, to find housing or to exercise their rights because of the texture of their hair. or its cut,” the White House said in a statement.

The text now takes the road to the Senate, where its fate is however more uncertain.

Several American states have already decided on their own to ban hair discrimination, starting with California in the summer of 2019.

And after years of only allowing the slicked back bun as a hairstyle for military women, the US military revised its standards in January 2021 to better reflect the diversity within its ranks.



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