Since the Race Relations Act 1965, it has been illegal to discriminate against a person because of their skin colour in the UK. Yet racism still exists in many forms including hair discrimination. As a result, racism can and has negatively affected our mental health, triggering anxiety, depression, stress and trauma.
“You’re playing the race card”
In particular, as Black people, our negative experiences are mostly ignored. “You’re playing the race card” is a known phrase by those who choose to ignore racism. Touching our hair without permission is a microaggression that plenty of Black people – especially Black women have experienced. The policing of our hair texture and hairstyles in schools and places of work is a form of social injustice – change to protect the unprotected is necessary.
Launch of the Halo Code
In December 2020, The Advocacy Academy joined the fight against hair discrimination in the UK. Young Black activists from the academy created the ‘Halo Code’ campaign pledge, asking for schools and workplaces to change their policies to stop hair inequality.
What is the Halo Code?
It’s the UK’s first Black hair code fighting against hair discrimination. Schools and workplaces that decide to adopt the Halo Code promise to support students and staff to have the “freedom and security to wear all afro-hairstyles without restriction or judgment.”
Who has adopted the Halo code?
Sutton High School in South West London is the first school who pledged to adopt the Halo Code. This means that they will review their school uniform policy to prevent Black students from being unfairly punished.
Also, businesses including Avon, Dove, Estee Lauder, M&S and Unilever have already adopted the Halo Code.
How to adopt the Halo Code?
Who are The Advocacy Academy?
The Advocacy Academy is a social justice charity founded by Amelia Viney. The academy’s mission is to “train young people to engage in collective action to improve their communities and tackle social issues that directly affect them.”
The activists behind the Halo Code are known as the Halo Collective.
Edwina Omokaro, the 21-year-old co-founder of the Halo Collective told the BBC:
“No one should have to change their natural or protective hairstyle in order to thrive. Together, we will ensure that all Black people can learn, work, and live free from hair discrimination.”
'It can make you feel like you're in a petting zoo.'— BBC Woman's Hour (@BBCWomansHour) January 29, 2021
Sixteen-year-old activist Katiann from @thehalocltv and author @EmmaDabiri tell Anita why micro-aggressions are such a big deal and why the issue is much deeper than just hair https://t.co/RQ75C37QAs pic.twitter.com/g265CEzTnQ
CURLYTREATS supports the Halo Code campaign.
For more information, see: The Halo Collective
Photo credit: halocollective.co.uk