Army faces backlash over 'racially biased' hairstyle ban - WNEM TV 5

Army faces backlash over 'racially biased' hairstyle ban

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Some are crying foul over new regulations from the U.S. Army regarding women's hairstyles.

Thousands have signed a White House petition urging President Obama to order the Army to re-consider the regulations.

The reason? Supporters say they're "racially biased" against black women.

The update to the regulations were made public Monday.

Among the new, updated rules that have upset so many are the ones that clarify the hairstyles that are "Army appropriate.

While the Army has banned dreadlocks since 2006, the new regulations clearly define specific hairstyles like twists, a popular style that black women who are natural wear because it's a low-maintenance style that can last for several days.

The Army defines "twists" as two distinct strands of hair twisted around one another to create a rope-like appearance. 

The regulations now ban twists or multiple braids that are bigger than a quarter of an inch in diameter. 

Cornrows, however, are allowed but must be uniformed and no larger than a quarter of an inch.

Some black female soldiers not only feel the new rules are "racially biased", they're now faced with a worry they say they don't need when heading into the field: how to style their hair. 

"I've had my hair natural four years, and it's never been out of regulation. It's never interfered with my head gear," said Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs, of the Georgia National Guard, who wears her hair in twists. 

Jacobs who started the petition, told the "Army Times" twists are the go-to-style because "it makes it easy to take care of in the field," she said.

Jacobs added her hair is naturally thick and curly, making it impossible to pull it into a bun.

Jacobs was also saddened by the changes and said, "most black women, their hair doesn't grow straight down, it grows out. I'm disappointed to see the Army, rather than inform themselves on how black people wear their hair, they've white-washed it all."

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