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Chuck Hagel Orders Militarywide Review of Hair Rules

The Army's new guidelines on unauthorized hairstyles has minority women in knots. The Army says the guidelines ensure uniformity. Some black soldiers say the requirements are racially biased. The Army's guidelines include restrictions on braid and cornrow widths and a ban on twists and dreadlocks.

Yesterday's Pentagon briefing revealed that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a militarywide review of hair rules and regulations. Army hair policies, which had banned all dreadlocks, twists, and cornrows of a certain size, were accused of being racially biased toward African-American females, particularly those with natural hair. The decision to review follows national media attention, a White House petition with over 6,000 signatures, and a complaint lodged by the Congressional Black Caucus. Although previous ire was focused on army hair policies, the New York Times reports that Hagel has requested a review for all military services, including the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines. The Washington Post's official transcript of the Pentagon briefing has details about the three-month review, which will include a revision of "any offensive language."

Within the next 30 days, each service will review the definitions of authorized and prohibited hairstyles contained in each of their respective policies and revise any offensive language.

Number two, during the next three months, each service will review their hairstyle policies as they pertain to African American women to ensure standards are fair and respectful of our diverse force while also meeting our military services’ requirements.

And he said after he gets — after he gets these reviews, after a thorough review of the service recommendations, he will make whatever appropriate adjustments to [Department of Defense] DOD policies are necessary.


Photo: Courtesy U.S. Army

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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