On July 12, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill amending the definition of “race” in the New York State Human Rights Law to include “traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.” As a result, discrimination based on hair texture and protective hairstyles and other traits historically associated with race is now illegal in New York State. Hair texture includes naturally occurring traits, such as curly or kinky hair. Protective hairstyles are generally considered those where a person’s hair is shaped and not left out loose.
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