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Natural Hair Discrimination in Cincinnati will cease to exist thanks to Non-Discrimination Protections.
Cincinnati is the first city in the country to end a form of discrimination that has existed since this nations’ founding.
The new law, based on similar laws passed by the states of California and New York, defines natural hair types and styles as protected from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. Cincinnati City Council passed the legislation on October 9, 2019.
Councilmember Chris Seelbach introduced legislation to add legal protections for natural hair types and styles to the City of Cincinnati’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Since the days of slavery, the natural hair types and natural hairstyles commonly associated with African-Americans have been the focus of intentional as well as unintended discrimination against those individuals, based on negative, lingering, cultural biases that frequently favor hairstyles and hair types that more closely resemble Eurocentric hair types and hairstyles.
Cincinnati.com reported that under the proposal, it would be against the law to discriminate against natural hair and natural hairstyles associated with race. The law says the city would investigate complaints. Then, if there is probable cause, a hearing would be held. If discrimination is found, a fine of $100 per day up to a total of $1,000 could be levied until the practice ends.
If you have experienced housing or employment discrimination based on your natural hair(style) since November 9, 2019, you can fill out an Online Discrimination Complaint Form, or a Printable Discrimination Complaint Form. To file, you will need to submit your contact information, the complaint detail and the contact information of the person who engaged in the discriminatory conduct.
After filing, the complaint will be submitted for review to the Administration. After the review is complete, you will receive a formal response. For questions, please call the City Manager’s office at 513-352-3243 and speak to a live representative.
“People of color have been forced to regard natural and popular hairstyles — such as Bantu knots, braids, cornrows, dreadlocks, or Afros — as liabilities in the workplace, housing and public accommodations for too long. Black women are especially penalized because their style may not conform to what some may define as the traditional notions of beauty,” Seelbach said. “By adding natural hair to our City’s non-discrimination policy, we ensure that no Cincinnatian will be marginalized or discriminated against simply because of their hairstyle or texture.”
“From my kinks to my coils, I have grown to love my natural hair,” said Kamara Douglas, Administrative & Community Affairs Director for Councilmember Chris Seelbach who spearheaded the legislation. “Unfortunately, we live in a world where some institutions don’t think natural hair is professional or becoming. Not only is this demeaning, but it can also affect an individual’s sense of identity. The natural hair ordinance is so important for people of color and passage of this law reflects Cincinnati’s embrace of all members of its community.”
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