The military's efforts to regulate unkempt Afrocentric hairstyles is drawing flack from natural hair enthusiasts.
The Army's new regulations ban twists, cornrows and dreadlocks or dreads. The Army prepared a poster illustrated with photos of the banned hairstyles in an amendment to Army Regulation 670-1. The new rules go into effect on Monday.
TV One's Roland Martin (“News One Now”) joined a panel of black female current and former soldiers to debate the Army's ban on Afrocentric hairstyles.
One of the women, Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard, griped about the inconvenient new regulations that bans her stylish twists and forces her to learn how to style her hair differently.
"It kind of left me wondering what can I do with my hair," said Jacobs with a straight face.
“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,” she said in The Army Times.
Jacobs created a White House petition to protest the new hair regulations. Jacobs hopes to get President Obama's attention and enough signatures to force the Army to reverse its decision.
But the Army counters that Afrocentric hairstyles are personal grooming choices that are not consistent with the Army's standards of uniformity. Hairstyles that promote a soldier's personal beliefs or traditions are simply not allowed.
"Many hairstyles are acceptable, as long as they are neat and conservative,” said regulation-spouting Army spokesman Paul Prince.
He said the new rules are “necessary to maintain uniformity within a military population.”
In other words, you're in the Army now, ladies. You must assimilate and learn to follow rules.