It is not good to discriminate against people out of objective hatred. However, a growing trend is to equivocate the adherence to standards of behavior with “discrimination”, and to make it a legal issue. Some of these things, while they may have a point, can reach into territory that is legally questionable or causes other problems for the future according to the UK Guardian.
One such interesting of a case has taken place in Virginia, where “hair discrimination” is now a crime.
Virginia has become the first southern US state to ban hair discrimination based on racial identifiers including hair texture and hair type.
It is the fourth US state to pass such a measure. It had already passed the Virginia senate and house of delegates unanimously last month.
Advocates say the law will put an end to punitive actions that have disproportionately affected African Americans, both in schools and the workforce. Instances of disciplined children, or fired employees over dreadlocks, braids or afros have sparked outrage in recent years.
On Wednesday, Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, signed HB 1514, which also bans discrimination based on “protective hairstyles such as braids, locks and twists”.
Northam noted the bill is “pretty simple”, arguing that any child sent home from school because of a ban on “hairstyles associated with a particular race is discrimination”. (source)
It is true that some cultures have different hair styles. However, at the same time, there can be a sanitation as well as a presentation issue.
Saftey is made up of two parts, the first of which is sanitation. The black commentator and YouTube personality Tommy Sotomayor made an interesting series of videos several years ago that have since been re-uploaded by multiple people because they are often taken down for being offensive, many times by black women. While it is comical, he gives his view on why he does not like “weaves”, which is a common hair product used by black women, and he describes how many times weaves cause sanitation issues because of how they are used.
The video series is worth listening to, as we as insightful, because I can remember hearing this series and as I grew up in a very diverse area, some of the examples he uses I can recall seeing as a child, and thus was able to but a better context around it.
This is not an attempt to “target” anybody, but there is a fact that some hair styles are more conductive to generating less-than-sanitary conditions and some which are less. This is not an issue of racism, but one of health standards, and yet, there is a potential conflict being made about which to follow- health standards or “anti-discrimination” standards -that will likely have adverse effects on people and the public.
The second part is an issue of health and direct safety, as in protecting one from dying on the job. Certain hairstyles are more suitable for certain jobs while other ones are not. It is not racism to ask one to cut one’s hair if one’s job involves working around heavy machinery where long hair could get pulled out and kill somebody in a machine (I have experienced this first hand at a job I worked at, where a woman died after her hair got caught in a machine and it snapped her neck).
What is more important- “racism” claims or an OSHA violation?
The second issue is one of presentation.
Companies have standards. One does not have to like standards, and while some can be unreasonable, they are companies and have a right to choose how they present themselves. A person is going to look at a man with a short haircut or neatly presented hair than a man with long scraggly hair or an unkempt afro. It’s not racism, but a fact of life that presentation matters, and it is for all cultures and societies.
This law is less “stopping racism” and rather it is forcing people accept standards and behaviors they they do not want or could be detrimental to their business but have to in the name of “discrimination.”
Make no mistake, in neither case am I saying that racism is good.
I’m saying that “racism” here is being used to put employers and the common man into situations that are unsafe, dangerous, or detrimental and that it is not actually addressing racism, but making people not like each other, sowing social discord, and causing unnecessary legal problems.
It is more than about hair- it is about power by causing exploitable disorder.