Apr 1, 2014

The Army Times wrote a very provocative article about how black female soldiers are fighting back against a new grooming regulation that they believe is 'racial biased.' 

Here is a snippet of what was written:

As usual you would think assume that such an article would draw a lively debate, but what ensued was nothing short of racist banter that makes an Army brat like myself very sad for the men and women that serve in our armed forces.

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 Army Regulation 670-1 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 AR 670-1 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.

Jacobs, who started the White House petition , said she’s “kind of at a loss now with what to do with my hair.”

The Army defines “twists” as two distinct strands of hair twisted around one another to create a rope-like appearance.

Jacobs said twists are the go-to style for black female soldiers going to the field because it “makes it easy to take care of in the field,” she said.

Her hair is naturally thick and curly, making it impossible to pull into a bun, Jacobs said.

“Most black women, their hair doesn’t grow straight down, it grows out,” she said. “I’m disappointed to see the Army, rather than inform themselves on how black people wear their hair, they’ve white-washed it all.”

In the White House petition, Jacobs calls on the Army to reconsider changes to AR 670-1.

“Females with natural hair take strides to style their natural hair in a professional manner when necessary; however, changes to AR 670-1 offer little to no options for females with natural hair,” she said in her petition.

The changes are “racially biased, and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent,” she further states. Click here to read the entire article.

As always with an article of this magnitude, you would expect a very spirited debate to ensue but what transpired in the comments section saddened an Army brat such as myself.  Some of the most racist and vile things were hurled at the black female soldiers.  Some even suggested the women just get out of the military if they couldn't handle the new regulations.

Click here to read the comments and tell me what you think.


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