A new White House petition is claiming updated Army regulations banning certain hairstyles are biased against black women.
The new grooming rules specifically forbid twists, braids, dreadlocks and other protective hairstyles popular among women of color who do not use chemical relaxer on their hair. The regulations, which went into effect on Monday, also require that the “bulk of hair” not exceed 2 inches from the scalp.
Kind of a hard thing to do when you have a crown of glorious afro curls coming from your head.
A PowerPoint presentation of the new rules was leaked last month ahead of publication. While twists and dreadlocks have been banned since 2005, these updated regulations go into more detail about specific hairstyles.
Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard launched the petition, pointing out that nearly a third of women serving in the military are non-white and many wear their hair natural (not chemically altered or in extensions). “I’ve been in the military six years, I’ve had my hair natural four years, and it’s never been out of regulation. It’s never interfered with my head gear,” Jacobs, who says she wears her hair in two twists, told Army Times.
One veteran told Al Jazeera America that most black women in the Army wear their hair natural because they usually don’t have the tools to maintain chemically relaxed or straightened hair when they are deployed.
So what are black women who employ natural hairstyles adopted from their ancestors and culture supposed to do in the Army?
Straighten their curls?
Hey, maybe Paul Mooney was right (0:11 mark):
To sign the petition, click here.