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Kansas lawmakers considering bill banning discrimination against natural hair

(KNOE)
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 1:01 PM CST
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Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban discriminating based on hairstyles.

Other states, such as New York and California already passed similar bills. Now, Kansas lawmakers are considering it.

The bill's sponsor, Oletha Faust-Goudeau, refers to it as the "CROWN" Act, which stands for "creating a respectful and open workplace for natural hair."

Senator Faust-Goudeau says it's primarily for African Americans, but it ultimately protects everyone.

Pinky Andrews is a stylist at Simply Beautiful Hair Salon in Wichita. She hears stories about discrimination against hair.

"To know that part of your identify being your hair, a part of your appearance, keeps you from applying or being qualified for a specific job in the workplace - that will kind of make you re-think it a little bit," Andrews says.

Senator Faust-Goudeau and her African American colleagues have experienced discrimination. Now, they're putting it into perspective for others. When three female ROTC members visited her office, the senator asked, "If you wanted to be an ROTC member and you had to cut your hair to participate, what would you think about that?"

Andrews says the alternative option is wigs or chemical treatments, which she says are time consuming and expensive.

Senator Faust-Goudeau says natural curls and cultural hairstyles like braids and dreads should be allowed.

She says it's not just about the workplace, either. The law would also be enforced in schools for students and athletes.

Senator Faust-Goudeau introduced the bill and now it's in the Committee for Federal and State Affairs.

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