The Army finally has to pay attention to one third of its population.
The military announced yesterday that it will review AR 670-1, their grooming regulations that servicewomen have been calling discriminatory. The regulations disallow twists, “dreadlocks”, and cornrows larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter, which isn’t practical for some hair types that women of color have. Blatant racism masquerading as safety is something we’ve seen countless institutions strive for. We presume these mandates come on the authority of superior intelligence from the Department of Defense, made of people clueless about hairdos.
This demeaning-looking shot (above) from the regulations was the one that circulated the internet, and was only one photo of a series depicting other demographics and other hair offenses. But those weren’t the unreasonable ones, which is why people have been petitioning the unauthorized hairstyles. The female members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently wrote a letter to the Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel encouraging him to reconsider the updates to the regulation.
It explains to the Army why they need basic training in how to speak to people.
…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.
In other words, wake up, you sound disgusting.
Many African American women put forth great effort in ensuring their hair is maintained in a way that allows them to be acknowledged for their ability and commitment to the tasks and challenges before them, rather than their appearance. We urge you to consider the direction in which the updated regulation will ultimately lead the Armed Forces.
This will have to end in less offensive grooming regulations.
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