Military having a bad hair day over rules for black women

Recently we wrote about the concerns of one US Navy F-18 fighter pilot, Cmdr. Guy Snodgrass, regarding the overt Obama administration emphasis on social issues over national security and military readiness. You might think this was just a lone voice, but it could well be a harbinger of more to follow. Folks, what I am about to share, well, you just cannot make this stuff up.

According to Foxnews.com, “The military is reviewing its new regulations involving soldiers’ appearance after criticism by some black military women and lawmakers who argue that changes in the hair requirement are racially biased.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will make whatever adjustments to the policy are appropriate after a completing a review requested by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. “I want to assure you that, while none of the Army’s revised grooming and appearance policies were designed or intended to discriminate or disparage against any service members, I take your concerns very seriously,” Hagel wrote in a response letter obtained by the Military Times.”

The Army earlier this month issued new appearance standards that ban most twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows –styles used predominantly by black women with natural hairstyles.

Sixteen female members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Hagel calling the changes “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color. 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.” They also said that references in the regulation to hairstyles worn mostly by black women as “unkempt” and “matted” are offensive and show a lack of “cultural sensitivity,” according to the Military Times.

So the members of the Congressional Black Caucus have nothing to say about the decimation of our US Army capability to fulfill our national security roles and missions?

They said not a word when Secretary Hagel announced his planned reduction of our force to pre-World War II levels. What they are upset about is hair. HAIR. Cornrows and dreadlocks. I know a little bit about the Army and appearance regulations, and at issue is the compatibility of certain hairstyles with proper donning of the standard Army headgear, especially in garrison.

What so many of these chuckleheads fail to realize is that the mission of the US Military is not about conforming it to individual behavior or style. The mission is about conforming the individual to the culture, principles, values, and standards of the Military. It is not a “civvies” organization and it does discriminate — height, weight, physical ability. Why? Because the mission of the military is about fighting and winning our nation’s wars, not social egalitarianism and social justice. And don’t feed me the bovine excrement about integration of the forces. Race versus behavior are totally different issues.

It was discriminatory to separate troops based upon race, a characteristic that unlike behavior –or hairstyles — cannot be changed.

What are the national security imperatives and objectives for liberal progressives? I think we see clearly.

During the Clinton administration we were mandated to conduct “sensitivity training” all the while we were losing the resources to train our men and women — but hey, how did that “urban midnight basketball” social program work out?

Boy howdy, do I feel for my brother and sister leaders, my friends, still in the Army, all across the military. Now, they have to be cognizant of natural hair sensitivities — perhaps we should start training our men and women in beauty parlors and not rifle ranges?

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53 Comments on "Military having a bad hair day over rules for black women"

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Robert Ray
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Just another distraction our military does not need.

KHSoldier&Writer
Guest

How many of the Congressional Black Caucus (or any other subset of our Congress) have actually served and know what the hell they are talking about? The mission of the military is not social diversity…it is to kill the enemies of the United States.

Jae L
Guest

Waits for KH Soldiers response to The Man for the Hill….

hoIoh
Guest

My guess is you’ll be waiting a while. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen someone on disqus say “Oops, you are right and I was wrong”.

The Man for the Hill
Guest
At least six members of the CBC are veterans. It is sad we don’t have more younger veterans stepping up to run. G.K. Butterfield Sanford Bishop Charlie Rangle John Conyers Bobby Rush Bobby Scott Col West would not have been afforded the opportunity to lead troops in battle had Truman listened to those saying integration of the armed forces was just a social diversity experiment taking away from the mission to kill the enemies of the United States. As an old Marine I take pride in the fact that we were able to march, chew gum and shoot straight without… Read more »
lori k
Guest

OH. MYGOD.

Sam2001
Guest

Well said Lt. Col. West! The military ought not be the plaything of those that wish to exercise societal modeling. I know of more than one female with long hair (worn up in accordance with regulations) that cut her locks when it interfered with the proper wear of mandatory equipment, like a protective gas mask. This retired senior NCO thanks you.

VL123
Guest

This is the social engineering of our new politically correct military that the left wants.

Raj Arjan
Guest

Simple solution…. Require ALL military members, male AND female to have the standard boot camp issue 1/4″ cut…. PERIOD! For the duration of their enlistment. No ifs, ands, or buts…..Everyone equal, 100% Don’t like it? Don’t sign up!

Seriously, this is a bullshit issue…..

d gasawa
Guest

Sounds fair.

John Gabriel
Guest

Raj….well said sir.

Locklear
Guest

If preening about with complicated hairstyles designed to increase sexual attractiveness is more important to you than mission readiness and task focus, YOU DO NOT BELONG IN THE ARMED SERVICES. Please relocate yourself to a career field where vanity is more acceptable. Even we blue collar slobs have uniform and personal grooming requirements on our jobs.

stlworker
Guest

You people are missing the point clearly its targeted at women of color. My issue is this article writer lashing out at the black Caucasus when he should be lashing out at chuck Hagel for even making this an issue.Hair doesn’t win wars the men and women that serve our country win wars.

hoIoh
Guest

How is disallowing hair styles that don’t allow personnel to properly wear their helmets or gas masks “targeted at women of color”?

Michelle
Guest

Thats what he was saying I thought, I do however get your point; that Hagel needs to be called out for changing a lot of things!! Political people pleasure& there isn’t room for that in today’s times!!

milootoole
Guest

“What so many of these chuckleheads fail to realize is that the mission of the US Military is not about conforming it to individual behavior or style. The mission is about conforming the individual to the culture, principles, values, and standards of the Military. It is not a “civvies” organization and it does discriminate — height, weight, physical ability. Why? Because the mission of the military is about fighting and winning our nation’s wars, not social egalitarianism and social justice.”

Could not be stated any better. TY Col. West

Michelle
Guest

I totally agree! I didn’t think PC had a place on the battlefield!!

Patsy Vickers Blackner
Guest
Patsy Vickers Blackner

I can understand the dread thing because they can be hard to keep clean(if my understanding is correct, I could be wrong) but the braid thing is totally dumb and makes no sense to me. As a woman what better way to keep your hair out of your face and in a style that will fit under your headcover and other gear that you must use as a female in the military. We need to be spending our energy on other issues facing our military and let this one go!

hoIoh
Guest

I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen with large braids which made it impossible to wear their military uniform headwear (hats) properly, much less something absolutely essential such as a helmet or gas mask. The rules do allow braids, just not ridiculously large ones.

Patsy Vickers Blackner
Guest
Patsy Vickers Blackner

And you really addressed my point, if it doesn’t impede with the gear then it works, but I also agree that men have strict rules and I believe most women in the military don’t have a problem with this type of rule for women. We need to stop trying to accommodate everybody’s whim.

Thom
Guest

Make every member of the military shave their heads.

The_Patriot
Guest

Absolutely ridiculous. They’re making our military a travesty. “Wait we can’t go into battle yet, I need to do my hair? what about makeup?” It is all cow manure. Everyone conforms to the needs of the job not the other way around. If you don’t like it get out or don’t join.

Weerd Whale
Guest
Do you know why the military has such strict regulations? This will probably offend some people, but here it is: Men all have the same uniform hairstyle. This is not because the army is anti-expression. This is not because they want all of their soldiers to appear uniform. This is because it makes it easier to fit their gas masks and other equipment on their heads. Years ago, when women began actively serving, a problem came up. Several female soldiers were unhappy at the prospect of shaving their heads, especially considering how long it takes to grow hair of a… Read more »
Stephen Pointer
Guest

OUTSTANDING! Well put!

Carl Kuhlman
Guest

Well said sir !

ryan
Guest

This is the same black caucus from a few years ago who were upset that black names were not equally represented on the list of hurricane names.

Mike Peterson
Guest

Men all have crew cuts, for woman should just have it combed back. maybe a ponytail to keep it out of their face.

Palomino
Guest

I love this nation with all my heart, but our military is becoming a disgrace due to officials in authority who shouldn’t be. Let’s get the Hell-fire missile, and the rest of our state of the art fighting equipment. We need to add billions BACK into our military budget for improved weapons systems, pay our military better…to include benefits, and restore morale to a level Reagan instilled

Carl Kuhlman
Guest
Sixteen female members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Hagel calling the changes “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color. 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 Read more at http://www.allenbwest.com/2014/04/military-bad-hair-day-rules-black-women/#UmdrcgSOg6POItLS.99 It’s the military damn it !!! How’s it discriminatory ?. Lets get with the program people,because we have bigger fish to fry then worrying about hair styles. Shave their heads like we… Read more »
lindairish
Guest

Why is there a Black Caucus? Is there a white Caucus somewhere I don’t know about. Until we STOP recognizing race, we will NEVER be free of racism!

Jae L
Guest

Did you just suggest we stop recognizing race? And yes there has been a “White Caucus” didn’t you pay attention in history class? When was the first minority elected to Congress? Up until then what did Congress look like?

lindairish
Guest

I absolutely suggest we STOP recognizing race. Stop asking it on applications for anything. For getting jobs, for applying to colleges. It NEVER should be asked. We will never have equality until then.

Magnetic_North
Guest

That time is not now. You should pay attention.

Mohammed's pink swastika
Guest
Mohammed's pink swastika

Date: Tue, 1868-11-03

On this date in 1868, the first Black man was elected to the U.S. Congress

John Willis Menard defeated a White candidate, 5,107 to 2,833, in an election in Louisiana’s Second Congressional District to fill an unexpired term in the Fortieth Congress.

Reasonoverhate
Guest

Hello!!! We’re getting done with more than a decade of two unfunded, useless wars. Of course we need to downsize the military. It’s time to fight smarter and use the taxpayer’s money more wisely. Let’s use some of that $$ to take better care of our veterans!!!

And as with any large organization maybe they should have consulted with some of the people this policy change would effect before they put it in place. Lemme guess, was the committee all older white men? Certainly wouldn’t surprise me!

Stephen Pointer
Guest

Have you ever actually served in uniform?

dginga
Guest

I thought our military was voluntary. If you want to wear dreadlocks, DON’T VOLUNTEER!!! I seem to recall when my husband and nephews volunteered, their heads were SHAVED. Why don’t we do THAT to the women? Overall, if you don’t want to conform to the standards and practices of any organization, don’t join that organization. Go somewhere else!

As for the Congressional Racist Caucus, I think it is abundantly clear that these people have no business in Congress if they think this kind of nonsense is what they are being paid to do.

waymas
Guest

Universal conformity. 1/4″ period. The military is not a liberal gum drops, pink unicorns and pixie dust, lib ignorance club. Trying to accommodate has back fired into the lib trap of relativism and it’s evil is good; good is evil. Lib laziness will get us all killed.

Jefferson Tester
Guest
Ex-military here and, yes, my picture shows my hair is now a bit longer than was allowed when I was in active duty. This whole “culturally insensitive” crap wouldn’t be a problem if people at the top would put internal traits like training, mission efficiency and expertise above the external ones like uniformity and military fashion. I understand the importance during boot camp of the idea behind putting everyone on a level playing ground so as to ease the process of uniting people behind the training they are recieving, but after the initial training and even more so after the… Read more »
Matthew Nelson
Guest

I can solve this issue with three words: Standard unisex haircut. Ladies if you want to serve you’ll have to wear you hair high and tight just like the gentlemen. As to the race element; I’ve NEVER seen a black Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman with “unkempt” looking hair.

One Who Knows
Guest

Take all those same women in the Caucus and send them ASAP to Afghanistan to the FOB farthest from any “green” base. Lets see how long it takes them to forget the hair-do bull crap and start worrying about why they ain’t got no ammo (sorry… Obama cuts to the military), why they are being attacked on four sides (oopps maybe Al-Queda ain’t on the run like Obama said) and why they can’t even get a hot breakfast (sorry had to cut back on spending per Obama)………………….

Von
Guest

I wore my hair in it’s natural state for 21 years and followed AR-670-1 per regulations. I don’t see this as a ‘black hair’ issue in the same way other’s do. Their appearance should not be about a hair show, but following standards. If they can’t follow regulations, they can always leave.

Philanthropussy
Guest

What does a natural state mean? Wearing braids have nothing to do with appearance . I has to do with function, practicality, readiness and comfort.

sumsrent
Guest

“Nothing”?

Only in your opinion…

Philanthropussy
Guest

It great this country spends millions on cultural sensibility training to keep service members out of trouble and jail in foreign countries, but nothing for black women who want to wear their hair for function abd practicality ? God bless Amerika

sumsrent
Guest

Don’t tell me… you’re a NOI member… aye?
If you are… just know this…
You’re a tool for the Master Class Arab muslims. <<< Now go ponder on that.

sumsrent
Guest

Folks…
Islam is NOT a race!
And every little stupid issue like this… paves the way for satanic Islam to use these issues in the future for their gain.

The end result… permitting military women to wear their Islamic garb.

Beware… satanic Islam… slowly Creeping in… one step at a time.

Philanthropussy
Guest

A braid is not Islamic . Islamic women wear their hair down and long .

sumsrent
Guest

I’m not talking about how women wear “braids”…
I’m talking about… how people are being used to lay the foundations for satanic Islam to jump on board and run with them.
In other words… gateway drugs lead to other drugs.. aye, and…
Gateway issues like these… lead to satanic worshipping muslims expecting their ways to be accepted too.
PS… allah is a fake god.

Philanthropussy
Guest

Fool. Muslim women don’t wear braids !!!!!

sumsrent
Guest

You really are stupid… aren’t ya?

Philanthropussy
Guest

Wholeheartedly

Philanthropussy
Guest
It was discriminatory to separate troops based upon race, a characteristic that unlike behavior –or hairstyles — cannot be changed. Let me get this straight ? The father of 2 black girls, a husband of a black woman and son of a black woman doesn’t know black hair is different from white hair? Black hair that is cruse, kinky and thicker than whites? Beyoncé , Rehanna, Oprah , all fake wigs . Military black women are saying braids are easier to take care of in the field. The military has to take racial differences into account. Just like they took… Read more »