A state lawmaker is hoping to make Kentucky the third state in the country to pass a law banning discrimination against people with natural hairstyles.
Rep. Attica Scott pre-filed a bill that would outlaw discrimination against natural hairstyles and protective hairstyles, such as braids, locs and twists.
California became the first state to outlaw racial discrimination based on a hairstyle in July. New York followed suit a few weeks later.
“I know what it’s like to have natural hair and have people question your ability to do your job because of your hair,” Scott said. “We want to respect and value everyone that is trying to make ends meet, trying to make it every day, who want to go to work and just be productive folks at work and in their communities, and we can eliminate some of those barriers.”
Scott was inspired to introduce a bill long before this summer. Back in 2016, she and her daughter made national headlines, after they called out her daughter’s high school dress code. Which included, banning students from wearing braids, cornrows, twists, and locs.
“We have been fighting it for a long time. ‘You can’t wearcan’t wear dreadlocks,'” said Fran Collins, who works in Covington. “That is someone’s culture. They should be able to express it just like everybody else.”
House Bill 231 aims to protect people from discrimination based on wearing natural hairstyles in spaces like the workplace or school.
“Sometimes it is subtle or direct discrimination,” said Davonda Ingram, who works in Newport. “I think that as long as your hair is neat and clean, and every job is different, but as long as your hair is neat and clean, no matter what, there should be no issue.”
Kentucky lawmakers are currently in an interim session. Scott pre-filed the bill ahead of the 2020 meeting, which begins in January.