African Americans, The Board and Covid-19: The Neglect to Protect

The Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s mission is to “protect the Public” but what about us? African Americans and the board of barbering and cosmetology have had a long-lasting relationship that has been an uphill battle for the licensees. The Neglect to protect‼️ The board has neglected its ability to on protecting the African American licensees and its communities. It’s appalling and to say the least discriminatory. In 1994 I became a licensed cosmetology hairstylist when I attended the State Board of barbering and cosmetology there were very little curriculums in Milady‘s textbooks about African American hair but I was fortunate to have attended a school where it was heavily taught. When I attended State Board to be licensed at that time I was tested on the use of the Marcel iron and thermal stove, it was classified as a tool that was prominent in the African-American communities.
After receiving my license and then pursued a career working for the state board The African-American tools at that time were still in the exam process. As time progressed those tools were removed from the exam. Why 🤷🏾‍♀️ Building my way up to recent years the board has adopted The board has adopted a license called the hairstyling establishment license; the interesting thing about the hairstyling establishment license is that the board does not regulate hairstyling so why would they have a hairstyling establishment license. That license was directed towards the regulation of “hair braiders” or @Natural Hairstylist” which most African Americans tend to gravitate to in their services (chemical-free). Specialties ranging from hair braiding, hair weaves, pressing curls or flat-ironing; services that do not chemically alter the Natural Hair.

In 2006 a Minnesota court ruled natural hairstylist/ hair braiders were now a court order identified scope of practice a brand new occupation. The order exempted hair braiders and natural hair care stylists from being licensed by the board. With this knowledge, the board around the country began to establish a law that would infringe on the rights of African Americans Natural hairstylist. California firmed a natural hair establishment license. This establishment license allows them to illegally trespass on natural hairstylist/ hair braiders in a natural hair salon; regulating them according to the standards and scope of the cosmetology and barber board and not to the standards of exemptions as a natural hairstylist. These illegal raids Imposed unnecessary fines, closures of establishments, court cases, deportation, and even the loss of their licenses if they attained a board license. These examples are discriminatory And need to be changed by the board. The board also has a violation written within the establishment inspection code where if they enter into a licensed salon and they find a weaving needle or suture needle that the Cosmetologist can be fined And charged with the practice of medicine.

Instead of the board providing education to a licensed cosmetologist about the use of the suture needle during the weaving process. The board chooses to pick and choose who they want to give education about the health and safety of the needle. Although the board does not regulate the needle they have adapted the needle and allowed the electrolysis to use the needle and have provided them with the health and safety of the needle. The demographics of electrolysis based on the board statistical reports is approximately five electrolysis license issue per year. It’s a very small percentage and they have handpicked the people that have been given this privilege; the demographics are non-African-American. The board continues to show their distaste towards the African-American hairstylist and the public by not providing. Curriculum to learn about the African-American texture of hair, how to style the hair, how to care for it, and how to treat it in the African-American skin. Petitioners have gotten together to beg the board to add an African-American curriculum to their studies in hopes of showing equality. Sunset may happen first.

The crown act forbids government agencies to discriminate against a protected race based on their hair type. We all have a front seat of how the board violates this. We have got to continue to ban together to show that we are not OK with the way that they have treated African-Americans licensees as well as The African American public especially during this height of Covid. We really wanna point out that the numbers are high in our areas and we would like the proper health and safety education needed in order to protect our families and communities as African-American licensees and clients. email us if you would like to join us in our fight to get health and safety in our African-American communities. You can sign up at Beyond The Chair’s.org register there as a member and we will continue to keep you informed on the agenda.

By: Ericka Chancellor license Cosmetologist Former California State Board Examiner

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