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New York City bans hair discrimination to fight racism

February 20, 2019 5:11 am

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has released guidelines against targeting people on the basis of their hairstyle, classing this as racist discrimination.

The guidelines aim to protect the rights of New Yorkers in schools, work places and public places, where black people are disproportionately affected by policies banning hairstyles such as afros, cornrows and locs.

A report from the commission said black hairstyles are often deemed “unprofessional” and by limiting how workers and students wear their hair, organisations “perpetuate racist stereotypes”.

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NYC Human Rights Commissioner Chair Carmelyn P Malalis said hairstyle policies were not about professionalism but rather a way of “limiting the way black people move through workplaces, public spaces and other settings”.

She said the guidelines will help organisations “understand that black New Yorkers have the right to wear their hair however they choose without fear of stigma or retaliation”.

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