Cries of racial bias followed news of the U.S. Army’s newly updated grooming policy last week that critics say unfairly targets black women.
The grooming policy, Army Regulation 670-1, bans popular hairstyles worn primarily by black women. The regulation has not been made official yet, but the new rules were detailed in a PowerPoint presentation that was leaked on March 20.
In the presentation, examples of women wearing “multiple braids”, headbands and twists were shown as unacceptable hairstyles. Now, opponents of the changes have started an online petition in hopes of changing the proposed policy.
More than 30% of females serving in the military are of a race other than white. As of 2011, 36% of females in the U.S. stated that they are natural, or refrain from chemically processing their hair. 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. In the proposed changes, unauthorized hairstyles include twists, both flat twists as well as two strand twists; as well as dreadlocks, which are defined as “any matted or locked coils or ropes of hair.” These new changes are racially biased and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent. This policy needs to be reviewed prior to publishing to allow for neat and maintained natural hairstyles.
The petition needs more than 86,000 signatures to be recognized by the White House.
View and sign the petition here.
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