IDK if you’ve been following the hoo-ha over the U.S. Army‘s regulations on acceptable hairstyles for black women, but if not, comrade, prepare to feast your eyes on some blatantly racist shit.
AR 670-1, the regulation in question, disallows hairstyles including twists, “dreadlocks”, cornrows larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter, and — the most grave offense of all — hair the way it naturally grows out of a woman’s head. Quelle horreur! But fear not, women of color putting your lives on the line for your country: The kind men in charge do give you the option of sitting in a salon chair for the majority of a day while getting your hair painfully fried straight, micro-braided, or cornrowed. And you know what really makes climbing in muddy trenches easier? Wearing a goddamn wig, that’s what.
In response the female members of the Congressional Black Caucus who recently wrote a letter to the Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel encouraging him to reconsider the updates to the regulation and schooling the Army on the basics of how to speak to humans:
…the use of words like “unkempt” and “matted” when referring to traditional hairstyles worn by women of color are offensive and biased. The assumption that individuals wearing these hairstyles cannot maintain them in a way that meets the professionalism of Army standards indicates a lack of cultural sensitivity conducive to creating a tolerant environment of minorities.
Also taking issue with the regulations is Daily Show lady legend Jessica Williams. In “Operation Black Hair,” she hilariously, and gently now for us white folk, makes light of the regulations while revealing some harsh truths. And making
Wilford Brimley Lieutenant Commander Thomas Cheever don a wig and gas mask. Just don’t get this entitled when it comes to military sexual assault, hmmkay womenfolk?
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