Untangling African Hairbraiders from Utah’s Cosmetology Regime
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Untangling African Hairbraiders from Utah’s Cosmetology Regime


-My name is Jestina Clayton. “Jestina” means justice in Sierra Leone. I came to the US about eleven years ago to flee a civil war. I’d like to braid hair at home because I have two young children and a third on the way, and I can make some money
for groceries and other things that we might need as a family. I can’t braid right now because the Utah Cosmetology Board
told me that it is illegal to do so without a cosmetology license, even though that if I go to a school to get the license, they won’t teach me hair-braiding. -Traditional African hair-braiding is the braiding,
twisting or locking of hair without the use of chemicals. These natural styles originated centuries
ago in Africa, and have endured as a distinct and popular form of hairstyling primarily done by and
for persons of African descent. -African braiding does not threaten
anybody’s health or safety. With African hair-braiding you don’t cut hair, you don’t
use chemicals, you don’t use any other tools that would alter the natural
state of a person’s hair. So if I braided somebody’s hair and they decided
that they don’t want it at the end of the braiding session, they can remove that braid and their natural hair remains the same. -Utah requires people like Jestina to
get an expensive and useless cosmetology license in order to braid hair for money, even though they can braid all they want for
free. That license requires at least two thousand hours of classroom instruction. That’s forty
hours a week for fifty weeks. That is more class hours than it takes to be an
armed security guard, mortgage loan originator, real estate sales
agent, EMT, and lawyer combined. And not one of those two thousand hours teaches
African hair-braiding. -When I found out that Utah required a cosmetology
license to braid hair, I contacted the cosmetology board and I was invited to
speak at the board meeting, and then they told me at the meeting that I needed
to contact my legislator to see if they can change the rules. I did that, but so far I haven’t had anybody to help me. -When the government imposes unreasonable
regulations, as it’s done here, courts need to step in to protect the right
to earn an honest living. No one should have to hire a lawyer or
a lobbyist just to braid hair.
-I’m a mother of eleven children, seven adopted from Ethiopia. There is
an unmet demand in Utah for corn rowing and hair-braiding. There’s a lot of us adoptive moms that try and really can’t do that service for our children and because it’s
a temporary service it’s hard for us to try and pay or go the distance for the salon services.
So I think there’s a lot of people here in Utah that can do that service
without a cosmetology license where they can earn a little extra money and provide a service
for us adoptive moms at a lower cost.
-The Institute for Justice has challenged the application of cosmetology
laws to natural hair-braiders in seven states in our twenty-year history, including our very first case back in 1991. To date, we haven’t lost a hair-briading case yet. IJ has filed a lawsuit in Utah to protect Jestina’s right to
earn an honest living. Both the Federal and Utah constitutions protect
every individual’s right to earn an honest living in their chosen occupation free from arbitrary and
irrational government regulations.

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31 thoughts on “Untangling African Hairbraiders from Utah’s Cosmetology Regime

  1. "Arbitrary and irrational government regulations"? Isn't that redundant?

    Excuse me, but I just returned from a lovely afternoon at the local IRS office, so I'm in a very good mood.

    Braid some hair, and go to jail!

  2. Looks like if you want to be free in America…. you have to do what so many businesses have already done – leave the country and start a business in a communist one. " America – Land of the free and home of the brave" – that is the way it used to be. Now it's the land of the slave and home of the lazy.

  3. this is just wrong. these people have a right to earn money, and it is only braiding hair. to need a license to braid hair is just crazy. it is all about making money for the state. i hope she wins her case.

  4. I think the law should allow a "sub" licence for hair braiding, which requires maybe a 1 month course on hair/scalp health/sanitation & braiding techniques; subjected to basic professional cleanliness regulations. (I went to beauty school ..there's a lot of gross diseases on the head to look out for to protect both sides.) That will enable women to make a living.

  5. @Chad9976
    You already do if your a whistle blower, for some odd reason you must be part of the media to blow a whistle.

  6. @happymusics How about just letting people braid without a license? Has anyone ever actually gotten a head disease from these services?

  7. Pretty silly to have a law against this or w/e it was. Why can't you just let people do this service for free or let them pay for service if they want, why should they care?

  8. @kungfuwookie What a cognizant salient fact filled argument. I am impressed.

    /sarc

    Instead of using logical fallacies try to argue the issue. You won't look like a complete moron that way.

  9. @kungfuwookie It is called red herring. Instead of forming an argument based upon what is being discussed you introduce an irrelevant(to the topic) argument to distract from the original one. Your particular example also has elements of ad hominem, which is to conflate the veracity of a statement with the one making it.

    They are logical fallacies because they introduce irrelevant information to the argument. It may be relevant to you who funds IJ, but it is irrelevant to facts who does.

  10. @BernardASU2009 ahh… you don't like personal freedom? How is that smart. Maybe you should go live in North Korea…

  11. @TomMinderson Regulation laws like this exist everywhere in the nation. You sound like a bigot when you associate majority religion with law making.

  12. I could never be a judge because cases like this would frustrate the hell out of me. Can you say "waste of taxpayer dollars"?

  13. I have 3 comments: 1) Thank god I'm white and don't need to worry about this
    2) I wonder if its possible to braid pubes this way cause that would look awesome
    3) Why the hell does that women have 7 etheopian kids?

  14. bc she's giving them a family that otherwise they wouldnt have had. im adopted from ethiopia also. my parents adopted 10 kids and 7 of us are from Ethiopia. i have the opportunities that have today bc i was adopted. my parents didnt sit behind a computer and critizes those who adopted children, like u r doing. what do you do for the poor, orphans, & widows? criticize?

  15. This is interesting. I think of Bob Marley song "Get up stand, stand up for your rights"! She stood up for her rights and won.

  16. I have friends who used to pay to fly to LA to get this done. How ridiculous that a license was required. TOTAL BOLLOCKS!!!

  17. From the video, I like this quote from that video, “Both the federal and Utah constitutions protect every individual’s right to earn an honest living in their chosen occupation, free from arbitrary and irrational government regulations.”

    Why can't I get paid for the counseling work I do? I know I would be 10X better than 50% or more of currently "licensed" therapists. Yet, I didn't jump thru certain hoops, so I can't be licensed, because I'm not officially okey-dokeyed by some government twat.

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