On July 12, Governor Andrew Cuomo banned “race discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles” by signing assembly bill 007797 in New York. The bill states that discriminating against physical traits that are associated with race such as hair textures and styles is illegal.
Amending the original New York’s Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Humans Act, the update is seen as a success for The New York Commission of Human Rights’ stance on hair discrimination. On the bill, New York State Assembly’s Tremaine Wright expressed her excitement to The New York Post:
“As a black woman who prioritizes equity, and has worn my natural [hair] for 17 years, this bill is deeply personal for me. A legislative fix was in order.”
The bill marks a movement in American sociopolitics where PoC communities are finally being treated with the dignity history has not afforded them. Whereas in the past both women and men have been discriminated against due to their hair Governor Cuomo’s landmark move says to the U.S. that all races matter no matter how they look.
Speaking to The New York Post, Governor Cuomo made this notion known.
“For much of our nation’s history, people of color—particularly women—have been marginalized and discriminated against simply because of their hair style or texture. By signing this bill into law, we are taking an important step toward correcting that history and ensuring people of color are protected from all forms of discrimination.”
With this bill being amended, we can only hope the rest of American soon follows suit.