Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Military Regulations Have Black Women In Fear of Losing Their Careers

The US Army recently released a statement informing the public about its new policy for the way women are allowed to style their hair.

The illustration indicates that twists, multiple braids, and headbands are not allowed. This can definitely be a problem for black women who wear their hear in braids and twists while enrolled in the military. During assignments soldiers are often sent away to remote locations for extended periods of time. Many black women opt for protective styles (braids, twists, weaves, etc) while they are away from home.

The military's decision to ban these styles can be perceived as racial discrimination since there is a very specific demographic that chooses to wear their hair this way. Patricia Jackson Kelly, a member of the National Association of Black Military Women, challenges this new rule stating "I don't see how a woman wearing three braids in her hair [...] affects her duty to perform her job in the military."

Others are standing behind the army's decision, explaining that the military is a conservative organization that does not make room for trendy, attention-grabbing hairstyles that black women often bring into the environment. Many believe that the hairstyles are a violation of the professionalism that they are expected to maintain.

In addition to these banned hairstyles, the Army also banned body piercings, long sideburns, mohawks, and tattoos that are visible while wearing a uniform.

What do you think of this new policy? Will it stick, or will the public protest enough to have the Army reconsider?

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