Black hair discrimination must be banned, equalities watchdog told

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A group of parliamentarians, organizations and writers have urged the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ban child discrimination in schools, workplaces and wider society across the UK.

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In a letter, seen by Granthshala, and arranged by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education, the signatories argue that such guidance should encourage the government to update the Equality Act 2010 to recognize hair as a protected characteristic. Maybe, thus making it easier to take this form of racism for granted. .

Those supporting the move include Lord Simon Woolley, Vera Hobhouse MP, Emma Dabiri, Glamor Magazine, Dove and The Hello Collective. Ruby Williams, a London student who was told her Afro-textured hair was ‘too big’ and violated her secondary school uniform policy, is also among the group of signatories.


“It is clear that for far too long, institutional policies have been allowed to encourage black children, adults and people of black heritage to conform and mirror Eurocentric hairstyles, which are often their natural hair, confidence in the process. and damages self-esteem.” Reads a two page document.

A review of the Equality Act recently found that child discrimination is a form of racial discrimination and requires immediate legal recognition, while further research suggests that More than half of black children have been sent home from school Due to wearing your hair naturally or in a protective style.

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a research study found that more than half (52 percent) of black people with African hair said that discrimination against their natural hair negatively affected their self-esteem or mental health.

Ruby Williams along with her parents Lenny and Kate launches legal action against Urswick School in Hackney

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Ruby Williams along with her parents Lenny and Kate launches legal action against Urswick School in Hackney

L’Mayah Shere, founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Race Equality in Education Granthshala: “I have experienced child discrimination myself, and it devastates me that not only are there many adults, but countless children across the UK are experiencing similar forms of racial discrimination.

“That is why I am so pleased to be able to work with Kim Johnson MP and Hello Collective to send this letter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

“The fact that so many well-known names, brands and organizations have co-signed shows that demand is indeed on the ground – we hope the Commission is committed to taking steps in the right direction.”

In recent years, many cases of hair discrimination against black people have come into the limelight.

In July 2021, the international swimming federation FINA rejected an application from Black-owned swimming cap company Soul Cap to use its products at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Soul Cap is specifically designed to protect dreadlocks, weaves, and coarse and frizzy hair—styles commonly adopted by black communities.

FINA’s justification for the move was that the caps “did not fit the natural form of the head”. Critics of that decision felt that the disapproval would affect black swimmers’ access to excel in the sport.

Campaigners hope the updated guidance from the government will improve the UK’s understanding of “other forms of racism” and hopefully lead towards an end to systemic discrimination in the UK.

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