Response to Why Do Black Women Have to Look Like White Women to Serve Their Country



A few days ago, I read an article on the huffington post titled “Why Do Black Women Have to Look Like White Women to Serve Their Country?”, this article was a response to the new Army Regulations on hair. I shared the image above and the lin to the article on my FB fan page and encouraged all the women to read it. A day later, when scrolling through my FB wall I noticed a ton of comments.

If you haven’t, read the article.

These were some of the responses from the curl friends on my FB fan page.

Crystal Dee Dee Chapman I respect everyone’s opinion but please look at the real issue here. As a military member I conformed for 14 years. I relaxed by hair to fit into military standards. The underlying issue is not that women want to look like they’re fashion models or that they want to be glamorous in deployed locations. It is about the dress in appearance guidelines discriminating against women of color who want to wear their hair in the way God made it. This includes fades. Answer this, if my hat fits and my hair does not touch my collar what is the real issue? The issue is the texture of my hair.

Heather Harris If you join the military and all you can think about is your hair, you have NO business joining

Crystal Dee Dee Chapman Heather, I respect your view. For some of us in the military we joined and then the rules changed. Within the last 3 years more and more African American hairstyles are banned. The cartoon is exaggerated but there is truth to it. The only way many of us fit in is by wearing our hair straight at all times.

Tayo Akinsipe As a veteran, I agree with Crystal Dee Dee Chapman . This is not about “all you can think about is your hair”. Its about, why should we have to think about all the efforts it goes into making sure our (black women) hair meets into the white men standard. We should not be subjected to forced relaxer of our hair to meet all these standards. I didn’t like it when I was in and I don’t like all these new discriminatory rules. These rules only will make black women have to think more about what to do with their hair to conform to these rules.

Tonya Taylor If I join the military and all the military can think about is my GOD GIVEN NATURAL HAIR, then it is they who have no business recruiting ME. If we black women aren’t allowed the same rights as women of other races to wear our hair in its natural state or in protective styles then the military shouldn’t recruit us! Out here dying for this damn country and can’t even be free to embrace our natural hair?! That is bullshit.

Amen’Ra Shakur I still cnt figure out y blacks choose to join an establishment tht promotes white supremacy/racism/terrorism globally, but yet complain whn thr wronged w/in tht same institution…O_o

Shay Bostic Why make this a black vs white thing. White, Hispanic, Latin and what ever other ethnicity serve in the arm forces and some of them have thick, kinky hair. They also enjoy wearing braids and twist. The men have a standard to keep. No one said black women had to relax or straighten their hair, just follow the standards set. Policy can be changed without making it a racial issue. The issue is some may want to wear a certain style but it’s not allowed. Other ethnic groups have to follow the same standards and like I said some of them have thick and kinky big hair too. I’m with changing the policy if possible but I’m not with making this a black vs white issue.

Arnetta K. Gilmore It is a racial issue. The other races don’t have the same textures as we do. They can wear streaks and mess buns and no one will bat an eye. I wear two strands twist that actually makes wearing my cover “hat” easier. It’s an issue. doesn’t matter that my hair is neat. Doesn’t matter that my cover fits easier. Its an issue because it’s twist. If you haven’t served, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.

De-Sean Satcher This is all based on the media. The idea of a black woman with her own texture of hair makes people think that it’s unprofessional and “ghetto.” Black women are the target of this regulation because the perception of what others will think of the military is what they are trying to save. It will give off the idea that the military lets anybody in, and that they have no standards. Therefore, they implement these standards to make women of color or with “kinky” textures of hair conform to the more “non hostile” hair styles. That’s why white women only have to put their hair in a bun so it doesn’t exceed their neck or ear lobes.

Ebony Leverett The issue here that many are choosing to overlook is that the military is not a “regular” job. When you raise your right hand you are ASKED if you are willing to defend your country. You are ASKED if you will defend the constitution, etc. You are not forced into enlistment. However, you are also informed of the fact that you no longer have rights. You are the property of the United States government. With that, you choose your route. While many things are prejudice and I too was initially outraged at the changes to AR 670-1, I realized the reg. is not against natural hair per se. If you really think about it (especially those who have never worn military head gear), natural hair for us grows outward, not downward, which makes it naturally “puffy.”This even causes issues wearing civilian head gear. At any rate, two strand twists tend to “puff” more than a 3 strand braid, hence improper fit of head gear. In combat, many will not be concerned with their natural hair but with their lives. Why place your buddy in a situation where you may have to be saved because you refuse to fit your head gear properly? Just like nail polish colors and collar length hair were issues, female soldiers (including myself) still found a way to wear it. It’s called weekends. Noone is saying perm your hair, but wear it to uniform standard Mon-Fri and rock your puffs and fros, etc on the weekends. There are plenty of natural hairstyles to accommodate this. If you’re that unhappy with the new reg, it may be time for a career change.

Angela Williams When I was in the military, White women wore two giant cornrows(part down the middle w/one cornrow on each side of the head) or two braids in the front & one in the back(two front braids, one each side pulled back & incorporated into a single braid at the back of the head) that exceeded the 1/4inch rule, but NOW all of a sudden it’s a problem?!! Rules appear to be targeting Black women with natural textured hair. As long as their twist/braids/loc’s are neat, off-the-shoulder, & pinned up as to not interfere with headgear/caps/hats I don’t see what the big problem is!!

KS Loyd-Brown I am a black woman serving in the military. The new regulation is not about race. It’s about standards. The regulation will come effective 30 April. We have more issues than hair to worry about. Let’s do a petition to bring all our soldiers home or speed up the VA process of veteran getting help after they return from war. It really upset me that the people on the outside just take actions and run and talk but don’t know what their fighting for. Draids and up kept hair was never been authorized in the Army. It’s just many people was afraid to make correction. We wear kelvar and gas mask. Just think if a soldier had to wear this to save their lives, will it fit. I’m not trying to be insensitive about the issue, but if you can’t go by the standards then you should exit. The Army is not about fashion it about sacrifice and saving lives.

Modatchari Bitata Sopale Why do you want to serve a country that doesnt respect the way u look, the way God had made u, which is BEAUTIFUL… is clear that black people still at the bottom of the ladder even thought they willing to put their lifes on the line 4 a country that values them NOT…. Respect 2 all of u.

Shelia Bifford First we must embrace our own hair before we expect others to embrace it. There are a lot of us who are ashamed, embarrassed or wish they had “other hair type” We need to accept our nappy, kinky, curly hair and love it!

Read more of the comments here