California moves to ban racial discrimination based on hairstyles

(CNN)A bill that would ban schools and workplaces from having dress codes that forbid braids, twists and other natural hair styles has passed the California State Senate.

SB 188 updates the state's anti-discrimination laws so the definition of race "also include traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles."
It passed on Monday in a 37-0 vote and will now go to the State Assembly.
The bill, which is also known as the C.R.O.W.N. Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), states that the standards of professional dress and grooming in workplaces and schools are often based on Eurocentric standards.
    "Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group," it said.
    Los Angeles Democrat Sen. Holly J. Mitchell introduced the bill and said that it would encourage schools and businesses to create grooming policies "that will foster inclusion and diversity."
    In a speech before Monday's vote, Mitchell said that African-American men and women have often had to endure expensive, painful and even dangerous chemical treatments to change their hair to conform to these beauty standards.
    She said that until recently, an image search for "unprofessional hairstyles" only showed black women with natural hair, braids or twists.
    "I believe that any law policy or practice that sanctions a job description that immediately excludes me from a profession -- not because of my capacity or my capabilities or my experience but because of my hairstyle choice -- is long overdue for reform," said Mitchell, who observed that she wears her hair in a natural style.