Army Hair Rule Discriminates Against Black Women

Categories: Luke's Gospel

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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke takes on the Army's crack down on African American hair.

The Pentagon is more concerned with enforcing a racist policy aimed at African-American female military personnel than addressing the Army's suicide epidemic among soldiers. Earlier this month, the Army banned hairstyles typically worn by black women -- twists, dreadlocks, and large cornrows. Sixteen African-American congresswomen -- including our own Democratic representative, Frederica Wilson -- recently signed a letter urging Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to reconsider the ban.

Surprisingly, Michelle Obama hasn't said anything about it. She should be raising hell. The first lady knows how difficult it is for a black woman to manage her hair.

The Army's decision shows how generals are out of touch with the men and women who fight for this country. The banned hairstyles are not about making a fashion statement. Black women who braid their hair or pin it back do so out of necessity. When African-American female soldiers have to get up at 5 a.m. for physical training, they can't worry about primping. When they are in a war, they don't have time to fuss over straightening their kinky locks.

Putting their hair in cornrows, twists, or buns allows them to move quicker and stay cooler. That's why black female athletes such as Olympic gold medalists Sanya Richards-Ross (track and field) and Gabby Douglas (gymnastics) pull their hair back. If they didn't, it would turn into a tangly mess from all the movement and sweat. It's not about looking cute.

Yet the Army is essentially telling black female soldiers that to be accepted, they need to shave their heads like Demi Moore's character in the movie G.I. Jane. The Pentagon certainly won't pay for a hairstylist on base for the thousands of servicewomen who most likely enlisted because they're poor and can't go to college.

Meanwhile, a March study by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that suicide rates have soared among soldiers, not only those who went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also those who were never deployed. In 2012, the most recent year available, 350 servicepeople died by their own hand. Military leaders should focus on preventing more soldiers from killing themselves.

But they're too busy enforcing racist rules.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @unclelukesempir.

Tune into Luke on the Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal, 940 AM.

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7 comments
cargon786
cargon786

What is the policy for males regarding hairstyles serving in the US Army, regardless of race? This is a race-bait article and agenda, designed to stir up controversy. 

Funny, African Americans like to point and speak, aloud and quite offensively at times, to their history and tradition. Well, maybe now is a good time to learn the difference between tradition and traditionalism. 

What's next, large hoop earrings, saggy pants, neck tattoos, speaking spanish on the battlefield and in the platoons, and I am Hispanic by-the-way, heck, let's just let the soldiers set their hours and days off too.

It is the United Staes Military, not your sorority or fraternity. 

This article and issue isn't worthy of publishing, let along the attention it has garnered. 


rodrigo A.cASper
rodrigo A.cASper

LMAO wow. what a terrible article. as a veteran i saw it all during active duty. In the military (just like prison) people always thought their race was being "chased after". Standards are standards, if you're in the military you should know that its about UNIFORMITY, all through out, no matter the race.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................the military IS racist and always will be from the TOP GUN academy mentality to the battlefield ranks

even COLIN POWEL was no more than a "house nigger" to the BUSH clan - just go google lee atwater who got papa bush elected president

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

I will call B.S. on this one too.


Go take a look at the actual regulations and you will find that many of them target white women with long hair too. The problem is, some people are just hiding with a certain card in their hand, ready to jump at every little opportunity.


Besides, the army is not a fashion show. Those whining about  keeping a hairstyle, or refusing to cut their hair, are simply not army material. 

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