military hair regulations

It’s no secret that women in the military face a unique set of challenges, and just like with most things in the United States, women of color have even more obstacles thrown in their way. For months, people have been debating a new set of military regulations that banned several of the most popular, convenient, and affordable black hairstyles. Not only that, but black women’s natural hair was deemed inappropriate, with the military trying to rationalize that wigs are a more acceptable choice than the hair that grows out of people’s heads. Thankfully, due to complaints from the sixteen women in the Congressional Black Caucus, we’re finally seeing an end to that discriminatory (and moronic) decision.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in a letter to the caucus that the regulations are being rewritten. (It should be noted, though, that from the looks of this New York Times article, Hagel didn’t add a “P.S. I’m sorry old white men tried to explain your own hair to you.”) The chairwoman of the caucus, Marcia L. Fudge, released this statement in regards to the decision:

These changes recognize that traditional hairstyles worn by women of color are often necessary to meet our unique needs, and acknowledges that these hairstyles do not result in or reflect less professionalism or commitment to the high standards required to serve within our armed forces.

Good. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been to deal with this bullshit from the inside, but I’m glad to see it all come to an end. Now if only we could convince public schools to distribute pamphlets to little white kids called How To Understand– And Not Be A Dick About– Black Women’s Hair. That’d be a start.

Via Jezebel / Photo: US Army, via Associated Press