On the last day of Black History Month, House Republicans reportedly voted to block a bill that would ban race-based hair discrimination.
To pass the House on Monday (February 28), the Crown Act needed a two-thirds majority as part of an expedited voting process, with 235 votes for and 188 votes against the bill. All of the latter votes were made by GOP members of Congress.
According to the Huffington Post, Democratic members of the House subsequently vowed to bring the legislation back up for another vote in the coming weeks.
In a statement, Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), Gwen Moore (Wis.) – all Black women – said they will reintroduce the legislation for a vote through a longer process that would only need a simple majority to pass.
“We won’t allow Republican antics to stand in the way of Black people having the right to live as their authentic selves,” the congresswomen said in the statement.
The Crown Act would ban discrimination against Black employees or students for wearing traditional Black hairstyles such as cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, tightly curled hair, Afros and more.
Watson Coleman noted that Black people are “far too often … derided or deemed unprofessional simply because their hair does not conform to white beauty standards.”