By February 25, 2020 Read More →

Beckley basketball case spurs W.Va. lawmakers to amend race discrimination law

By Erin Beck, The Register-Herald

CHARLESTON, W.VA. – After a Beckley mother told lawmakers that her son was barred from playing high school basketball games because of his dreadlocks, the West Virginia Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary passed a bill on Monday clarifying that state law prohibiting racial discrimination includes mistreatment based on hairstyles typically associated with a race.

Sen. Mike Azinger, R-Wood, a white man, vehemently spoke against the bill, telling Tarsha Bolt, the Beckley mother and a black woman, that she was trying to “undercut authority” and trying to pick “the rules” for herself.

Bolt told lawmakers that a basketball coach at Woodrow Wilson High School told her son, Matthew Moore, a freshman player, that he had to cut his dreadlocks because they weren’t “neat,” even though other players on the team had afros and man-buns.

“I think it’s neat,” she said. “It’s a part of our culture.”

She explained to lawmakers that dreadlocks are “one of the most manageable ways” for black people to wear their hair. …

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