UTAH (ABC4) – In light of allegations of racism and harassment at the Granite School District involving a staff member’s enforcement of the school dress code, ABC4 is taking a closer look at why some believe dress code enforcement policies have a history of targeting people of color.
President of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch Jeanetta Williams said this isn’t the first time she’s heard about a person of color experiencing dress code discrimination.
“I can’t really get into the mindset of some of the folks that are doing that. I think it’s what we call like the explicit bias, that they’re seeing these things, and they’re acting upon it. And they have those hidden biases against those students of color,” said Williams.
One area she’s been working on addressing is hair texture, promoting the CROWN ACT. Crown stands for creating a respectful and open world for natural hair.
Passing the house back in March, advocates say the bill would ban race-based discrimination nationwide, something Williams says happens more often than you may think.
“You may not even get hired because of the style that, that person that during the interview is thinking that it doesn’t fit what they want you to fit in, you know, fit in this one little box,” said Williams.
Now being considered in the U.S. Senate, Williams said it all comes down to a simple concept.
“We’re just saying treat everybody equally,” said Williams.
Several states have similar laws in place including Nevada. Utah Sen. Kitchen sponsored a similar bill during Utah’s last legislative session, but it did not pass.