Jackson County Executive Frank White Protects Against Hair Discrimination At Courthouse

Actually . . . Some of our reactionary readers might disagree but this kind of effort is needed and represents a positive step by Exec Frank White.

Curious readers can search and find WIDESPREAD BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT for this kind of legislation amongst all mainstream elected leaders. 

The opposition is mostly comprised of pundits confined to social media. 

Meanwhile . . . It is, in fact, valuable progress that local governments address some of the unfair historic stigma directed toward African-American women and whatever hairstyles they choose.

Here's the word . . . 

Press Release: Jackson County Executive implements CROWN Act protecting county staff against hair discrimination

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. will sign an executive order implementing the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. The CROWN Act prohibits discrimination based on natural hairstyles such as braids, locks, afros, curls and twists in the workplace and schools.

African American residents and residents with African ancestry are more likely to be affected by workplace discrimination and other forms of prejudice. Upon the County Executive’s signature, the executive order enacting the CROWN Act goes into effect immediately.

“For far too long, black people have felt undue pressure by society to look a certain way to fit in or get a job. That ends today in Jackson County,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “I want Jackson County to be a place where my grandchildren know they can be themselves regardless of how they decide to wear their hair. Choosing a hairstyle is an important, personal choice for black people that reflects their culture and ethnicity and we cannot allow that self-expression to be suppressed. Enacting the CROWN Act sends a message that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated within Jackson County’s workforce as we strive to create a more inclusive environment that advances racial equity.”

Implementing the CROWN Act amends Jackson County Personnel Rules by revising the definition of “Discriminatory Employment Practice” to include “Protective Hairstyles.” This means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes but is not limited to afros, bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.

Black individuals’ natural hair grows in different textures, lengths and colors, and can be worn in a variety of hairstyles, which hold cultural and personal significance in the Black community. However, modern ideas of professionalism tend to reflect European or white standards. The recent CROWN study conducted by the JOY Collective indicates that:

    80% of Black women say they have to change their “hair from its natural state to fit in at the office.”
    Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair
    Black women’s hair is 3.4 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional
    Black women are 83% more likely to report being judged more harshly on their looks than white women

County Executive White has made addressing inequities facing communities of color, disenfranchisement and women in Jackson County a top priority.

    He conceptualized the Our Healthy Kansas City Eastside program that addresses health disparities in the County’s most socially vulnerable zip codes. The $5 million investment increased access to the COVID-19 vaccine and preventative health services.

    Jackson County has expanded its health benefits package, offering for the first time comprehensive coverage for infertility treatments and gender affirming care.
    An expanded paid parental leave policy provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave to county staff following the birth or adoption of a child. The policy applies to mothers, fathers and same sex parents.

The CROWN Act was first introduced in 2019 to eliminate hair discrimination across the country as part of a national movement driven by the CROWN Coalition. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act in March 2022 and the bill currently awaits a vote in the U.S. Senate. The County Executive’s actions will ensure that discrimination can be addressed for county staff before protections are accessible nationally.


Developing . . .