New York City Is Protecting Racial and Cultural Identities With This New Ban

Braids, Bantu knots, locs — it is now considered racial discrimination to single someone out for wearing these hairstyles in New York City. The New York Times reported that the city's Commission on Human Rights is imposing a ban against practices that discriminate "based on their hair or hairstyle at work, school, or in public spaces," and that a penalty up to $250,000 can be imposed on anyone who doesn't follow its guidelines. That means that instances like that of Cree Ballah, who was told her hair was unprofessional by her employer, or that of students Maya and Deanna Cook, who The New York Times cited as having been "forced to serve detentions because officials said their braids violated their school's grooming policy," will not be tolerated.

"The New York City Human Law protects the rights of New Yorkers to maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic, or cultural identities," a statement from the Commission read. "For Black people, this includes the right to maintain natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state."

In an ideal world, this law wouldn't need to exist, but with the many injustices that take place against people of color (take the policy that prohibited black women to wear their natural hair in the US Navy until last it was reversed last year as an example, or even just the mainstream expectations that people have for women's hair ), we're very glad to hear that it does.