Going Hair Neutral

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France’s lower house of parliament passed a bill Thursday banning discrimination based on the texture, length, color, or style of an individual’s hair, a measure that if passed, would make the country the first country to ban such a form of discrimination, the Associated Press reported.

The bill’s supporters hope the measure sends a message of support to Black people and others who have faced hostility in the workplace and elsewhere because of their hair, the newswire wrote.

Authors of the proposal, which mirrors similar legislation in 24 US states, explained it was necessary to solidify existing laws against discrimination, citing a Black flight attendant for Air France who was prevented from doing his job because he sported braids.

Gauging hair-based discrimination is difficult in France because the country’s constitution bans collecting data on race, because of its fierce protection of the principles of secularism, France 24 wrote.

Those principles have led to French bans on the wearing of headscarves worn by some Muslim women in certain public institutions such as schools.

On Wednesday, that ban resulted in a case filed against a teenage girl, the BBC reported.

France’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said the government would file suit against the girl for falsely accusing her high school principal of hitting her after the principal asked that she remove her headscarf in school.

On Feb. 28, the principal of Paris’s Maurice Ravel high school demanded three students remove their hijab. One of the teenagers, who refused to comply, told local newspaper Le Parisien that the principal “pushed” her and hit her “violently on the arm,” which the principal denied.

The pupil sued the principal for acts of violence, but the case was dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, the principal received death threats via social media and he quit after decades as an educator, Franceinfo reported.

France’s schools have been on edge in recent years because of rising threats since the murders of two teachers in 2020 and 2023 by extremists. In 2020, Samuel Paty, a high school teacher, was decapitated after showing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in class.

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