Black Female Troops: Hair Rule ‘Racially Biased’

Source: Michelle Tan and Army Times / USA Today

WASHINGTON — Thousands of soldiers and others have signed a White House petition calling for the president to order the Army to reconsider just-released appearance and grooming regulations they contend are “racially biased” against black women.

The update to the Army regulation was published Monday , and among the rules are clarifications for Army-appropriate hairstyles. For example, the Army does not allow twists or multiple braids that are bigger than a quarter of an inch in diameter. The reg also bans dreadlocks of any style, and cornrows must be uniform and no bigger than a quarter of an inch.

Twists and dreadlocks have been prohibited since 2005, but the regulation at the time did not clearly define the specific hairstyles, Army spokesman Paul Prince said.

The new rule clearly defines the different hairstyles and gives soldiers specific guidance on what’s allowed, he said. Leadership training released in mid-March, published before the reg was official,includes photos of a number of unauthorized hairstyles , several of which are popular among black women.

“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,” said Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, of the Georgia National Guard, who wears her hair in two twists.

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  • V3

    Shouldn’t be in the Army defending a racist country in the first place!

    • L Blake Brown

      So i guess you own your own Fortune 500 Company and can employ thousands of former military men and woman so we don’t have to join the military…. Oh wait you don’t… You work for someone else….

  • Natashafx

    These women are dodging bombs and bullets. There shouldn’t be nonsense rules about how they wear their hair since I’m sure there are no beauty salons in the desert.

  • Bev1984

    I am an Black female veteran with over 29 years of service and have worn a variety of hairstyles and remained professional. When I first came on active duty, I was forced to cut my hair because it fell out due to being overprocessed. When I went to war, I chose to cut it to prevent it from falling out. I have no problem with them stating that we have to present a professional appearance, but for them to dictate what is professional is what I find appalling. I am not sure why the leadership felt there was a need to specify those hairstyles specifically, but authorize extensions and weaves. I wonder who was on the advisory panel.

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