Creating A Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2022

Floor Speech

Date: March 18, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2116, the CROWN Act. No one should be deprived of equal rights under the law because of their hair texture or style. It should never be the case that a person is denied the opportunity to participate in school sports or is sent home from work just because of what their hair looks like.

The most egregious example of this was a wrestling coach who had an African-American wrestler that had to cut his hair to perform. He wasn't allowed on the wrestling team unless his hair was cut because the wrestling coach didn't like it. Well, the wrestling coach was ignorant of the fact that that should have been his choice. He couldn't rise to understand it.

Now, Mr. Bishop and I, we share something in common. We both don't have a wonderful crown with glorious locks. And sometimes when people, particularly people who aren't too smart, get mad at me--and I imagine this happens to Mr. Bishop, too--they will say: You bald-headed whatever. I have no choice in the fact that I am bald headed. I had a lot of hair when I was young. I had more hair than Mr. Jordan.

Mr. BISHOP of North Carolina. Will the gentleman yield?


Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I will yield to the gentleman from North Carolina.

Mr. BISHOP of North Carolina. Let me just ask, do you think anyone has ever discriminated against you because you are bald?


Mr. COHEN. Well, they have said things they thought were nasty. But it was not nasty to me because I have no choice in the fact that I am bald.

Mr. BISHOP of North Carolina. Did you bring a lawsuit?


Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, reclaiming my time.

I am just as good a human being, just as smart, just as effective, and just as caring with or without hair; and the fact is it is discrimination, and it is ignorance.

African Americans have been discriminated against in many ways because of their hairstyles. It is a natural thing for African Americans, and they should not be penalized in the workplace, in sports, in school, or in any other ways.

I stand here for the CROWN Act. It was originally introduced, I think, by Cedric Richmond, and I joined with him on the Judiciary Committee to support it.

I had seen problems in Tennessee when I was a State senator, and supported bills there to protect people who wore braids and whatever. I hope people will rise up and vote ``yes'' in understanding of other people and think beyond themselves.