Let’s Take Back Our CROWN

Giodona Campbell, Columnist

Every time I had to roll into school with a throbbing scalp and on the verge of bawling because of my fresh cornrows, it wasn’t only because my head had its own heartbeat but because I wish I could just come to school with my hair in its loose state like how people with softer textured hair get to do. But I can’t.

Montgomery County Council Member, Will Jawando, and Council President Nancy Navarro have introduced the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” This bill would, essentially, end discrimination against people for how they wear their hair. It’s about time.

The introduction of this bill, and its eventual passage, brings me joy because it draws awareness to the issues of minorities’ image and how it would be considered “unprofessional” to wear their hair in its natural state. It’s ridiculous how curls, coils, kinks, and dreadlocks, supposedly conflict with the image of an institution or company. How does one’s hair change their work habits or ability to do a job? How does one’s hair affect the “image” of a company? The truth is it doesn’t, but not everyone realizes this.

Going into any professional setting for minorities with their “hair done” has always been a requirement in order to be taken seriously, which is simply insulting. It should never have gotten to this, however. The fact that people have had to conform to a standard that is suffocating just to be taken seriously for so long is appalling.

Imagine the shaming that was brought upon minorities for embracing their hair, especially young girls and women. For generations, young girls at school have had to suppress the feeling of someone recalling their hair “nappy,” which leads to them thinking that their hair is ugly or unattractive. Every girl of color at one point in her life has dreamed of having straight hair. I was one of those girls.

It’s because they have been taught over and over again in the media that that’s what it takes to be seen as beautiful. It explains why relaxers and heat tools (curling irons, flat irons and hot combs) have boomed in sales and production over the last two decades. This straight hair belief has also led people in the business world and beyond to see the same image as not only beautiful, but also as what is acceptable in the workplace.

Everyone’s hair texture is beautiful whether it its straight, wavy, coily, or kinky. This act is just a big breakthrough for people with coarser textured hair to be able to fully embrace who they are and halt put downs against unique, carefree curl patterns, especially in professional settings.