The bill builds off existing state laws, which generally prohibit workplace or school discrimination based on religion, gender, sexual orientation and race. But the CROWN Act expands the definition of “race” to include “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles,” like braids, locs and twists. These and other styles known as “natural” looks do not involve processing to straighten the hair.Norwood, Candice. “A yearslong push to ban hair discrimination is gaining momentum.” PBS New Hours, March 31, 2021.
The greater part of the forces of conformity and order would seem to come from the control freaks of the private sector, who, well, foot the bill for their corporate look — and so they would seem entitled regiment employee appearances — but that regimentation may no longer fit the look of America, which has become naturally . . . natural, color filled, and creative and wild in personal expression and representation.
Thus has it been since at least the tumult of the 1960s and the race in commerce and finance to capitalize on the greater institutionalization of broadest inclusion (e.g., see United Colors of Benetton).
Of course, there’s more to contemporary racial discomfort than fashion.
And there’s more to it than this day’s hideous Far White Right angst-inspired hatred, the impersonal qualities of national course correcting quotas and programs (so that – and so I heard one academic leader proclaim long ago in relation to his institution – “our numbers look right”), Russian Active Measures (designed to disinform and enrage us in every way possible), and, sadly, incarceration rates.
There’s The Money — who has it, who produces more of it, who gets it, and how — and America’s future in its cultural, economic, spiritual development, evolution, and realpolitik.
Do we really believe in our ideals?
Have we the insight, will, and vision to construct what needs must become a Greater American Dream and Reality?
The latest to-do about hair, that most intimate and universal signal about how we roll, as it were, whether young peacocks or tigresses or balding old men, black as well as white, and haloed older ladies, may be more affirming in relation to America’s meta- and political cultures than challenging except near the separatist fringes where the most malign of narcissists insist that their own image and legacy define the world around themselves.
Of the few things a person may control in life, the body — and, as part of it, the haircut — would seem the most primary.
Make an appearance.
If good, if lawful, if broad in outlook and of generous spirit, well then — welcome aboard America.