PBCBA BAR BULLETINS JUNE 2020 BULLETIN - Page 16

DIVERSITY CORNER The Treatise and th Cultural, and EDGARDO HERNANDEZ The Palm Beach County School District has emerged as a local leader in the fight against discrimination, voting unanimously in February to ban discrimination based on hairstyles. As we begin to see more and more headlines commending state and local governments for implementing laws to protect cultural hairstyles, it warrants looking back at how we arrived here and what must be done moving forward. America’s original sin of racism and discrimination began before America was even an idea, with the arrival of 20 enslaved Africans to the British Colony of Virginia in 1619. 1 Although slavery was abolished in 1865 with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment and principles of equality were ratified in the U.S. Constitution with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the belief system of racial superiority ingrained in our culture and laws for over 200 years has persisted to this day. Some examples of this include the Jim Crow era, the Supreme Court overturning the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the inability of minorities to vote, and bans on interracial marriage. However, a tremendous step to right America’s wrongs took place with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act is the most comprehensive and progressive legislation ever enacted to address discrimination in America. Specifically, the Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. ii There were provisions included to ensure equal voting rights; to prohibit discrimination and segregation in places of public accommodations, public facilities, and employment; and to order the desegregation of public schools. iii The comprehensive and ambitious nature of the Civil Rights Act has led to extensive litigation and an extremely large catalogue of case law challenging the validity and breadth of authority granted by the Act. Fortunately, in the landmark case Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act, and overturned its earlier rationale which had nullified the Civil Rights Act of 1875. iv However, the courts have failed to enforce the spirit of the law, which is equality. Specifically, the courts have not prohibited discrimination against physical attributes of a race, including hair, and have disregarded the historical and cultural connections hairstyles have to religion and national o Historically, hairstyle African cultural iden African women wo including locks, plaits the communities to w this was often an es dress. v In addition to b their community, hair to indicate a person’s religion, ethnic ident within the commun were enslaved, one steps the slave trader their identities was t Multiple studies have evaluate the impact American women’s s and sexual identities, as linguistic identity hair to racial identity c economically by the care industry in the U There has been no s that certain hairstyle due to their associatio groups. In 1786, the G made it illegal for Cr to display their natur the use of a head sc a bar in Virginia Bea which prohibited bra and dreadlocks becau security person, the ow hoppers” in the esta recent example made a black teenager in Tex not be able to particip ceremony unless he c The rule was a part of had been created just the graduation cerem is a plethora of evide to racial, gender, and long history of target discrimination on the the courts have failed the Civil Rights Act of The Equal Emplo Commission (EEOC) fil of Chastity Jones aft position with Catas Solutions solely b dreadlocks. The suit w District Judge Charles the court found Titl PBCBA BAR BULL