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Racial Discrimination Based on Hair Texture/Style

February 15, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Brittany Whitley

School and workplace policies that regulate hair textures and styles disproportionately affect Black children and adults, and may lead to negative educational, economic and health outcomes.

Most federal and state anti-discrimination laws do not explicitly define race to include the physical characteristics historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles (e.g., braids, locks, twists).

As a result, there is legal ambiguity as to whether education and employment policies (e.g., dress codes, hiring/firing practices) related to hair textures and styles constitute a form of discrimination based on race.

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