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Gazette Premium Content Petition: Army appearance regs discriminate against black women

By Tom Roeder Updated: April 1, 2014 at 11:29 am

A petition that’s gathered more than 5,700 signatures on the White House website is asking President Barack Obama to overrule portions of the Army’s new appearance regulations as discriminatory against black women.

The newest version of Army regulation 670-1, released Monday, cracks down on excessive tattoos and allows troops to pack umbrellas. It also has polices on women’s hair that forbid soldiers from having more than two braids, hair twists and dreadlocks.

The petition says the ban discriminates against women who need to use the unauthorized hair styles.

“Females with natural hair take strides to style their natural hair in a professional manner when necessary; however, changes to AR 670-1 offer little to no options for females with natural hair,” the petition says. “In the proposed changes, unauthorized hairstyles include twists, both flat twists as well as two strand twists; as well as dreadlocks, which are defined as “any matted or locked coils or ropes of hair.” These new changes are racially biased and the lack of regard for ethnic hair is apparent. This policy needs to be reviewed prior to publishing to allow for neat and maintained natural hairstyles.”

You can read the petition HERE.

Army Times talked to the soldier who started the petition, Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, of the Georgia National Guard.

“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 told the newspaper.

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