So where do we draw the line, and is the line straight?
Sikhs who traditionally for religious reasons wear their hair and beards long have found themselves unable to join the army because of this reason. Yet the army appears to be flexible as they have given a few sikhs special accommodation to join with unshorn hair.
There is no doubt that the army is targeting natural afro centric hair with the rules surrounding, twists, afros and locs and as offended as the average natural civilian might be, the question becomes, what would you be ok with?
Would you prefer them to say no on afro styles but say that twists are ok, what about locs? Are medium length locs ok versus longer locs? Or a twist out versus a bun? The options are too varied to accept some rules and oust others, someone is bound to be offended.
With that said because of our love for natural hair we do support the petition, and we do think the rules come across as excessive. But the petition is also flawed, because it is not enough to say hey we don’t like your rules, but to figure out why the rules are in place and how they protect our men and women in the army.
When we make suggestions on what the institution designed to protect us in times of war is supposed to do, we have to be ready to look at it from all angles, realizing that the military is militant and so bending the rules while never impossible must be done in a responsible manner.
Nobody likes to hear that their hair is a distraction, and that what we consider to be normal is for them something that should be tamed and tucked away; it is difficult to wrap our heads around it because we are not a part of that organization.
Though the army is culturally diverse, aesthetically it should never appear that way hence the strict rules, and as naturals who take offense we have to present our arguments with that in mind.
How do you feel about the rules, are they inherently discriminatory to natural hair? We would love to hear from women who have served in the army.