Black Voices: Illinois’s hair discrimination bill is now in effect

A new Illinois law banning hair discrimination is named after a 4-calendar year-outdated Black boy

A new Illinois law banning hair discrimination is named after a 4-calendar year-outdated Black boy named Gus “Jett” Hawkins. Officials at Hawkins’ faculty instructed him his braids violated the school’s dress code. 

The costume code said afros or shorter hairstyles have been allowed. Having said that, other pure hairstyles worn by quite a few Black kids these types of as braids, locs and twists were banned. 

Hair discrimination is continue to embedded in the United States, and it carries on to hurt Black people today, specifically Black little ones. With the periods we are in, as properly as it currently being a new calendar year, hair discrimination need to no longer exist.

The Illinois governor signed the bill to ban hair discrimination in colleges in August 2021, according to Chicago Sun-Periods. The bill, which is successful as of Jan. 1,  prohibits faculties from imposing procedures on hairstyles traditionally associated with race or ethnicity. 

This signifies educational institutions in Illinois really should no lengthier be capable to ban pure hairstyles worn by Black kids. 

Each point out should undertake laws to ban hair discrimination in educational institutions. Black hair normally takes intensive and certain care. Black peoples’ hair is not all the identical, it will come in diverse textures and lengths, and it can be styled in a multitude of ways. 

Hair for a whole lot of Black folks tells a story or a journey. Things like the “big chop” or someone’s “loc journey” have equally religious and actual physical importance. 

For some Black men and women, embracing their all-natural hair is an act of resistance against white supremacy. Several Black females have felt pressured over the several years to use heat on their hair in buy to assimilate and conform to European requirements. 

Most of this strain is from faculties and workplaces which really do not watch Black hairstyles like braids, locs and afros as expert or neat. 

“Black hair has a very long history of being stigmatized and politicized,” Lori Tharps, co-creator of “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America,” said in The Washington Article in 2019.

There have been various situations exactly where Black young children were pressured to lower their hair or penalized for their hairstyles.  

In 2018, Faith Fennidy, an 11yr-old Black female was despatched dwelling from school because her braids had extensions. She was advised her hair was unacceptable. The university had recently added a policy prohibiting extensions, weaves and clip-ins. 

Black hair calls for a distinct form of care and management. Fennidy’s household tried using to demonstrate to the school her braided hair extensions assisted maintain her natural hair. Nevertheless, this wasn’t ample to permit her again in university. Fennidy’s spouse and children looked to enroll her in another university.

In 2019, Black teen Andrew Johnson, was compelled to cut his hair off through his wrestling match after officers explained his hair covering for his locs didn’t conform to the rules. 

There is no explanation a little one need to be despatched house for the reason that of their hair. It looks as if these procedures about hair actively seek out to punish Black children. These policies are destructive and make Black little ones internalize inner thoughts of loathe or disdain for their purely natural hair mainly because they are punished for it. 

For Black kids, hair is a type of self-expression, which is significant in the improvement of a boy or girl. Having that away can have self-damaging results in the long term. 

There are no federal regulations to ban hair discrimination, and there is at this time no regulation in Indiana to ban hair discrimination in schools. This suggests there could hypothetically be some Black small children in Indiana staying punished for their hair. 

It is imperative for a lot more states to undertake hair-ban discrimination legal guidelines. These regulations will deliver a extra balanced and risk-free setting for Black little ones to don their hair freely with out the stress of it staying “against the policies.”