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Friday, April 4, 2014

Does the U.S. Army Discriminate Against Black Women and Their Hairstyles? — Twists, Locks, Cornrows, and Braids Are ALL Banned!

U.S. Army Hairstyle Discrimination and Ban Against Black Women

Courtesy of U.S. Army

Nationwide — The U.S. Army is in hot water again after they have reportedly updated their regulations banning certain hairstyles, specifically those worn by Black women. The new rules, effective this week, say that all twists, headbands, dreadlocks (locks), cornrows, and/or multiple braids that are larger than a quarter-inch are banned. It is also not allowed for the “bulk of hair” to exceed more than 2 inches from the scalp.

Not all of these rules are new; Twists and locks have actually been banned since 2005, but the multiple braids ban, the locks ban, the cornrows ban, and the headbands ban is a part of the update.

Of course, women all over the country are not happy – especially those soldiers who are enlisted in the Army. Reportedly, a third of all women serving in the military are women of color, and many wear their hair natural. One source told Al Jazeera America that most black women in the Army wear their hair natural because they usually don’t have access to the haircare products they need to maintain chemically relaxed or straightened hair when they are deployed.

Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard has launched an online petition at WhiteHouse.gov, protesting the ban. She comments, “I’ve been in the military six years, I’ve had my hair natural four years, and it’s never been out of regulation. It’s never interfered with my head gear.”

More than 12,000 people have already signed the petition, and the ban has literally created an uproar on social media, blogs, and other news outlets.

But Not Just the Army…

The U.S. Army is not the only ones that seem to have a problem with hairstyles worn by Black women. Over the past 5 years, there have been countless incidents covered in the media where a local public school system decided to ban braids, twists or locks. In most cases, the schools decided to back off after receiving pressure from the media and community, but some schools did not budge.

Even worse, there have been cases where certain companies have decided to implement a hairstyle code and threaten Black women that they will lose their job if they don’t conform to the new guidelines. Again, they usually back off when the story ends up on CNN, but not always.

What do you think? Is this a form of discrimination? Or do they have the right to tell someone how to wear their hair?

To view/download the official updated U.S. Army hairstyle regulation documentation, visit:
http://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/pdf/r670_1.pdf
(see page 6)

To sign the online White House petition against the ban, visit:
https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reconsider-changes-ar-670-1-allow-professional-ethnic-hairstyles/BnR900wx

 

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