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  • Writer's pictureProject Black Girl

Addressing Texture Discrimination in the Workplace

 

In today's diverse workplaces, organizations strive to create inclusive environments where employees feel valued and respected. However, one often overlooked form of discrimination is texture discrimination, particularly concerning the natural hair textures of black women.




Understanding Texture Discrimination:


According to a 2023 CROWN Workplace Research study, Black women's hair was two-and-a-half times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional. Additionally, over half of the Black women surveyed felt compelled to straighten their hair for job interviews to increase their chances of success. Texture discrimination encompasses the biases and prejudices encountered by individuals with textured hair, influencing various facets of their workplace experiences, from hiring practices to daily interactions. These biases can deeply impact individuals, fostering an environment where microaggressions, such as remarks on the "unprofessional" nature of certain hairstyles, or pressures to conform to Eurocentric beauty ideals, prevail, leading to an uncomfortable and often unsafe work atmosphere. Lastly, hair policies that prefer straight or silky hair textures may pressure individuals into altering their natural hair in order to reach career advancements and opportunities. 


Organizations must proactively address texture discrimination and cultivate inclusive workplaces. A pivotal piece of legislation in this effort is The CROWN Act, standing for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” This law serves as a critical tool in combating race-based hair discrimination, including the unjust denial of job opportunities or educational access due to hair texture or protective hairstyles like braids, locs, twists, or Bantu knots.


To advance these initiatives, organizations can leverage platforms like Hairvine, an emerging platform that offers women with textured hair access to high-quality products and services. Hairvine functions as a marketplace and community for personalized textured hair care, facilitating connections between clients and a range of offerings, including products, stylists, advice, and education, all tailored to meet individual needs. Rooted in a commitment to serving the community, Hairvine envisions a world where genuine beauty reflects our shared humanity and fosters meaningful connections.


In conclusion, integrating diversity training programs for managers and employees, not only raises awareness of unconscious biases but also fosters respectful interactions among employees, contributing to a more harmonious and inclusive workplace culture. Texture discrimination remains a significant issue in today's workplaces, but by raising awareness, promoting inclusivity, and supporting diversity initiatives, organizations can create environments where all employees feel valued and respected.

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