Have you ever even thought about natural hair discrimination?
With hair anti-discrimination laws being passed in NYC and in California, Alexa reached out to her old high school friend, Dr. Wendy Greene, a law professor at Drexel University Kline School of Law and the author of the forthcoming book, #FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements, due out from University of California – Berkeley Press in 2020.
In this episode, we talked about:
- Natural Hair discrimination and what that means
- The idea that people have an idea that curly, African American hair is not natural – standards of b
- Wendy’s work on the hair anti-discrimination law in NYC
- The CROWN Act in California
- How hair, of all things, is tied to the Civil Rights movement
- The straight hair mandate; toxic hair chemicals and damaging heat styling
- The impact that the chemicals are having physiologically on African American women and girls
- Emotional distress on women and girls
- When she’s fighting for the most marginalized groups, they end up achieving protection and rights for everyone
- Everyone will achieve better equality because of this
- Dress codes for students
- Is Your Job’s Dress Code Racist?
- Wendy’s new book, #FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements
- Books for children – like Color My Fro
- Nana B. and Me – the central character is an African American girl with Afro puffs
- Sign the petition to help get the CROWN Act passed across the country.
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More about Wendy
The daughter of American civil rights activists, Professor Doris “Wendy” Greene is a trailblazing U.S. anti-discrimination law scholar, teacher, and advocate who has devoted her professional life’s work to advancing racial and gender equality in workplaces and beyond. Celebrated by Teen Vogue and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Professor Greene has developed an international reputation for her efforts to dismantle two present forms of inequality at the intersections of race, color, ethnicity, religion, and gender: “grooming codes discrimination” and “misperception discrimination.” Notably, she coined both terms which are now recognized in the field of civil rights law and policy.
Her published works examining these contemporary civil rights issues have been used globally as definitive source material for educational publications, legal guidance, and professional training on workplace diversity and inclusion. Also cited extensively by federal courts, civil rights organizations, administrative agencies, and legal practitioners, Professor Greene’s award-winning scholarship has helped to generate local, state, and federal civil rights protections for victims of race-based discrimination in workplaces and public accommodations. In the area of grooming codes discrimination, Greene has published four influential articles exploring workplace discrimination experienced by: Muslim women who don hijabs; African American men and women who don natural hairstyles like braids or locs; African American women who don blonde hair; and African American Muslim women who don both hijabs and natural hairstyles. Drawing upon her publications, the New York Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) recently released a groundbreaking legal interpretation of its local civil rights law: discrimination African descendants systematically suffer because of their natural hairstyles (e.g., afros, braids, locs, twists, bantu knots, etc.) in workplaces, public and charter schools, and public accommodations constitutes unlawful race discrimination in New York City; it is reported that the NYCCHR’s interpretive guidance is the first of its kind in the United States. One of the nation’s foremost legal experts on this civil rights issue, Professor Greene is actively engaged in a broad range of professional activism, seeking to educate the public on the racial dimensions of natural hair discrimination and ultimately diminish if not cease this form of race-based discrimination in private and public spheres.
She is the author of a forthcoming book, #FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements (University of California-Berkeley Press), and the originator of an internationally circulated hashtag #FreeTheHair, bringing awareness to what Professor Greene calls the “hyper-regulation of Black women’s and girls’ bodies via their hair” in public and private spheres as well as natural hair movements around the world.
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