Our Hair-brained Legislature
Well, finally, the state Legislature did something right. It passed the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair.” The purpose of the legislation is to protect people from discrimination as it pertains to housing and employment if they wear their hair in an Afro, braids, twists, corn rows and dreadlocks.
Thankfully, I may now resume my own “natural” identity, albeit much more work needs to be done. Back in the day, I rocked the biggest Afro at Lompoc High School and the coolest, most natural dreadlocks at UC San Diego, if I don’t say so myself. Not only that, but I also was a pioneer in the intersectionality of hair styles in that I also wore my hair in a combination of an Afro/mullet. You remember the mullet, don’t you? All business in the front and all party in the back?
It goes without saying that I was so multicultural, I could barely stand it. As mentioned previously, this all came natural to me, pardon the pun, because I identify as black, in much the same way as does Kamala Harris and Rachel Dolezal. How happy am I that the bill states that kinky and curly hair can now no longer be considered “unprofessional” based on “Eurocentric” standards of beauty.
Unfortunately, however, the Legislature myopically focused on this ban against hair style discrimination with the presumption that it will primarily benefit black people, even though black people have no patent on either discrimination or hair styles. That is, the Legislature is not considering free hair styles for all. The fact remains that the people who would love to bring back the mullet and other fantastic hair styles, including the mohawk, are still being discriminated against.
Moreover, in this day and age, what about discrimination against body art and body modifications? The Legislature has done nothing for all the people who can’t get a job or housing due to body art modifications, such as giant nose rings, tongue piercing, horns inserted into their foreheads, ginormous rings in their earlobes, gang tattoos or tattoos that cover their entire face. These people, who typically scare and/or gross out most people at first sight, obviously need protection too.
It is my sincere hope that our Legislature tables all the other matters less worthy of their attention as they pursue hair and body freedom in the workplace, and with respect to fair housing policies. These matters are clearly more pressing than the run-of-the-mill petty and trite issues that typically make the news, such as our devastating pension debt, our manmade water crisis, freeway gridlock, the highest-in-the-nation gas prices and income tax rates, not to mention the outbreak of medieval diseases among the homeless. Who cares about any of these things? Here in California, we care about hair.
As the Cowsills sang it in the 1960s in “Hair”:
“I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy. Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty. Oily, greasy, fleecy. Shining, gleaming, streaming. Flaxen, waxen. Knotted, polka-dotted. Twisted, beaded, braided. Powdered, flowered, and confettied. Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!”