Story behind Crown Act

New law against hair discrimination


Nafisa Kahin

The Crown Act stands for, “Create Respectful and an Open World for Natural Hair.” It has been created as a law against discrimination towards race-based hair. Not many states have the Crown Act in law including Minnesota, but we have it filed — just not put into action. 

Many people might view this law as ‘childish’ because Black people as a whole do not want others to appropriate our hairstyles that are meant for a simple protection style. I think it’s just straight up wrong and super disrespectful. 

It is simply not hard to culturally appropriate hairstyles meant for Black people. I’ve seen people around Minnesota, who are not Black, wear protective hairstyles even though they have pin straight hair. It’s annoying to do things you know are certainly wrong.

I had this teacher in my elementary school wear full on locs and continue to come to our school with that hairstyle. I was a seven year old girl and I didn’t know much about the meaning behind her hair. She was a white, blue-eyed, pin straight blonde-haired woman who knew it was wrong. Older students spoke to her about it and she kept using the fact that she was in South Africa during the summer as an excuse. That obviously doesn’t justify her actions.

The history still makes no sense to me. Why are Black people getting discriminated against for having their hair in braids, twists, an afro or even locs while in school or work? But when nonblack people do it, they get justified or defended because they were following a trend or being confused by not knowing right from wrong.

The Crown Act has impacted me positively because it’s teaching others who might not have been educated about cultural appropriation more about how negative these actions could be to others. I have a feeling that people who aren’t Black know that they’re appropriating Black culture — they know it’s messed up but they still do it. The Crown Act shows that we’re done taking such mockery and decided to fully take action. 

History class should at least go over the Crown Act because not many people know about it. It’s sad to know that nonblack people continue to appropriate our culture just for simple fame or to be trendy. Reading this shows others that they can be educated on the impact cultural appropriation has on people in general.