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New Army hairstyles prompt cries of racism from black enlistees

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A recent change to this man’s (make that this woman’s) Army have some enlistees up in arms. The change, to Army Regulation 670-1, as reported by PolicyMic, affects hairstyles. The reg specifically bans multiple braids, twists and dredlocks and limits cornrows to no more than a quarter of an inch.

Some Army personnel are calling the move racially biased. One of them is Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard, who started a petition at Whitehouse.gov that had nearly 6,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

Another soldier opposed to the change argues that braids and natural twists, apart from being stylish, are lifesavers in the field. Here is Staff Sgt. Lakashka Moore:

I just came out of the field Friday, so it was better for me to just pull mine back. But if I had it braided, it would have been a whole lot better because I don’t have to comb it. I won’t have to do anything. If we’ve got to go do something, I’m just able to get up and go.

Those who take the time to read Regulation 670-1 would discover there are practical reasons for the change and its enforcement. From Chapter 3, Section 3-2:

Hairstyles (including bulk and length of hair) that do not allow Soldiers to wear the headgear properly, or that interfere with the proper wear of the protective mask or other protective equipment, are prohibited. Headgear will fit snugly and comfortably, without bulging or distortion from the intended shape of the headgear and without excessive gaps.

One of the most interesting criticisms of the new regulation is that of soldier Shanay Jeffreys, who complains:

I feel like I'm being pressured to have a 'white' appearance. I thought the army was about diversity. [Emphasis added]

Really? Jeffreys, who voluntarily joined a group that requires its members to wear a uniform, is surprised to discover that the organization is more interested in uniformity than it is in individualism?

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