The U.S. House of Representatives this week passed a bill meant to outlaw hair-based discrimination throughout the U.S., with members claiming that said discrimination is rampant throughout U.S. society and requires a federal fix.
H.R.2116 will, if passed, stipulate that individual Americans may not be "excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, based on the individual's hair texture or hairstyle."
That provision would only obtain "if that hair texture or that hairstyle is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin (including a hairstyle in which hair is tightly coiled or tightly curled, locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, and Afros)," the law notes.
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Watson Coleman on Friday said that many Americans are "discriminated against as children in school, as adults who are trying to get jobs, [and as] individuals who are trying to get housing" due to the style of their hair.
Many authorities and business leaders, Coleman claimed, "think because your hair is kinky, it is braided, it is in knots or it is not straight and blonde and light brown, that you somehow are not worthy of access to those issues."
The bill will head to the U.S. Senate, where it likely faces a tougher passage due to the near-majority of 50 Republican Senators that make up that chamber.