Foundations for Writing

SCSU Site for English 191

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

US beauty contests and standards of beauty—and state congressional action

In the US, black contestants in beauty contests are wearing “natural curls.” The Washington Post reports on this trend and also on legislative changes regarding “natural hair” in state legislatures:



This year marks an unexpected sweep in the beauty pageant field: For the first time, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all black women. Two of the three won their crowns wearing their natural curls.

It has been a notable few weeks for natural hair on other fronts, too: Last month, the California Senate passed a bill that clarifies that traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and hairstyle, are protected from discrimination in schools and workplaces (and has the unusually winning acronym CROWN: Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair).

This follows a similar move in February, when New York City’s Commission on Human Rights issued guidelines that codify mistreatment at work and schools based on hair texture or style (mentioning traditionally black hairstyles in particular) as racially discriminatory. (

September 19, 2019
by Judith Kilborn

More states are trying to protect black employees who want to wear natural hairstyles at work

Here’s the lead of an interesting article about restrictions on natural hairstyles in the workplace as well as state legal bans (and potential bans):

In 2017, at a gala luncheon hosted at the opulent Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, Minda Harts found herself seated next to a recruiter for corporate board positions. Over cocktails and a plated fish entree, the two talked about race in the boardroom; the recruiter, a white woman, complained about the challenges of finding black women to be corporate directors.

To test how she’d respond, Harts, who founded a career development company for women of color and had a book on the topic released in August, asked the recruiter who she would feel more comfortable putting forward as a candidate for a board: a woman of color with a sleek ponytail, or one with a natural hairstyle such as locs or an Afro. The recruiter said the woman with the ponytail, Harts recalled. “The phrase she used was ‘clean-cut,’ ” Harts said.  (

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