Microaggressions Against Natural Hair
New York and California are the only two states that ban race-based hair discrimination in the workplace. These POC professionals opened up about microaggressions they've experienced.
Black women suffer more anxiety around hair issues and spend more on hair care than their white peers
New York and California are the first two U.S. states to ban race-based hair discrimination. This is an experience that many have had in the workplace. Black women are almost twice as likely to experience social pressure at work to straighten their hair compared to white women according to the Perception Institute. The potential for ‘hair biases’ to limit both perceptions of self and opportunities in the workplace has a distinct effect on black women. Amid a growing natural hair movement among black women, can the science offer any solutions that can help reduce bias and promote positive perceptions of natural hair both for women themselves and among others who see them?
Black women are 80% more likely to alter their hair to meet social norms at work, and 50% more likely to be sent home or know a black woman who was sent home because of her natural hair. Some key findings confirm that black women suffer more anxiety around hair issues and spend more on hair care than their white peers. They are almost twice as likely to experience social pressure at work to straighten their hair compared to white women. Studies like The Perception Institute also concludes that “White women demonstrate the strongest bias — both explicit and implicit — against textured hair.” They rated it as “less beautiful,” “less sexy/attractive” and “less professional than smooth hair.” However, white women who are in contact with black women “naturalistas” demonstrated lower levels of bias. Given that white women make up a large majority of the 38% of female managers who decide what looks are appropriate for work, legal conflicts sometimes ensue.
The bottom line is that time, society shifts and cultural integration in the workplace along with more mainstream media, TV and movie appreciation of natural hair will ultimately move the needle forward towards wider acceptance to a point where these biases may be eroded or untaught.