In light of how chauvinistic and otherwise horrible the news cycle has been this past week, I’m pretty sure this counts as good news. The U.S. Army has decided to allow women of color to wear their hair as it naturally decides to grow of their heads.
If you weren’t following the furor over this, prepare from some racist shit. Back in April the Army released a set of updated grooming regulations. AR 670-1, the regulation in question, disallowed hairstyles including twists, “dreadlocks”, cornrows larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter, and — shocker — the natural hair of black women putting their lives on the line for their country. Acceptable “solutions” included sitting in a salon chair for hours on end while having said hair painfully fried straight, micro-braided, or cornrowed, and wearing wigs. WIGS.
The ruling unsurprisingly attracted ire from servicewomen and some 10,000 people signed a White House petition, plus awesome ridicule from comediennes. The female members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote a letter to the Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel encouraging him to reconsider the updates to the regulation.
Hagel has now announced that a conclusion has been reached, and you will not believe the outcome: it was racist. The Pentagon has now “reviewed its definition of authorized and prohibited styles, and eliminated offensive language, including the terms ‘matted and unkempt,’ from both the Army and Air Force grooming regulations.”
“Additionally, each Service reviewed its hairstyle policies to ensure standards are fair and respectful while also meeting our military requirements,” he wrote in the letter, addressed to Congressional Black Caucus chair Rep. Marcia Fudge. “These reviews were informed by a panel of military personnel of mixed demographics reflective of our diverse force.”
The number of acceptable styles has now been extended to permit cornrows, twists and larger braids, and removing spacing requirements.
We’re not giving out any cookies considering this never should have happened in the first place, but at least one third of the army’s population can now (literally) sleep easier.
h/t Washington Post