Who decides how you wear your hair?
If you happen to be a member of the United States Military, the answer to that question is Uncle Sam.
Now some people think Sam needs a new coiffure.
Currently, the Army states that:
"Neat" and "conservative," however, are pretty subjective.
The new army regulations specifically ban dreadlocks, twists, and some types of braids. The women of the Congressional Black Caucus took issue with this rule, as well as the language used to express it, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In their letter, they state that:
They go on to posit that the amount of time and even money African American women must contribute to maintaining Army-appropriate hairstyles is unfair.
The issue of appropriate hairstyles and race extends beyond the military, however. Last fall, twelve-year-old Vanessa VanDyke and seven-year-old Tiana Parker were threatened with expulsion from their schools for wearing an afro and dreadlocks, respectively. Public outcry followed both cases.
Are the army hair regulations racially biased? Or are people getting themselves in a twist over nothing?