black women

The military will reconsider it’s bans on black women’s hair after all

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Reported By Liku Zelleke

In March this year, the US Army put in place rules that would govern how women in the services would groom their hair. Regulation 670 – 1, as it is known, banned hairstyles like twists, dreadlocks, thick braids and decorated headbands. There were also bans for Afros that were of a certain size and strict regulations were put on haircuts that were asymmetrical, no matter how short they were.

When taking into consideration black women in the services, it left them with almost no hairstyle to groom their hair in.

Now, protests from groups like the Congressional Black Caucus against the regulations being “racially biased” and “unreasonable” have made the Army rethink the regulations and make a promise that the guidelines would be reviewed.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the promise that he would “work with the service secretaries and the military chiefs to review their respective policies, to address the issues raised by members of congress about grooming standards, particularly for African-American females.”

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has said that the review would be done in the next few months and care would be taken that is fair to all ethnicities and types of hair.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, talking to CNN, said, “During the next three months, each service will review their hairstyle policies as they pertain to African-American women to ensure standards are fair and respectful of our diverse force, while also meeting our military service’s requirements.”

Once the review has been done, Hagel will be responsible for implementing the changes that the Army deems fit.

A letter from the women of the Congressional Black Caucus, explained why the members had asked for the review and why they considered the regulations “racially biased” by stating, “Though we understand the intent of the updated regulation is to ensure uniformity in our military, it is seen as discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color with little regard to what is needed to maintain their natural hair. African American women have often been required to meet unreasonable norms as it relates to acceptable standards of grooming in the workplace. Understand that these standards should shift based on each community’s unique and practical needs.”

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