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Ashley Jones (JD '21) on Lessons from Critical Race Theory for Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship and the Law (JBEL)

Pepperdine Caruso Law third-year law student Ashley Jones was once told by a Human Resources manager that she "needed to figure out what to do with her Shirley Temple Afro." As a bi-racial woman, Ashley has always had a fraught relationship with hair. After a lifetime of hair-related conflicts both in her personal and professional life, it is no wonder she is so passionate about the subject. As an advocate of diversity in all its forms and expressions, Ashley is using her own experiences combined with her legal education to encourage businesses to take a look at their respective policies and rules and reevaluate how corporate policy could be crafted to support diverse employees–Black employees in particular.

In "Can I Touch Your Hair?: Business and Diversity- Slavery, Disparate Outcomes, and the CROWN Act," Ashley uses critical race theory to take legal and business professionals and leadership teams alike on a journey about detrimental workplace hair discrimination, Title VII, and pervasive hair discrimination. Her arguments cite examples from chattel slavery to today's average American workplace. Ashley expands upon the historical and cultural significance of hair in the Black community, particularly when addressing corporate grooming and dressing policies. Her comment will be published in the Spring volume of the Journal of Business, Entrepreneurship and the Law (JBEL).

According to its campaign website, the CROWN Act was created in 2019 in partnership between Dove and the CROWN coalition to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statuatory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace an public schools.

Ashley hopes that her comment will spark more discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion as we all work to create better, welcoming workplaces for all.