- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 10, 2014

Black female lawmakers have now weighed in on an Army controversy over what one soldier calls “racially biased” hairstyle regulations.

Sixteen female members of the Congressional Black Caucus signed a letter Thursday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, stating that the changes are “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color,” the Associated Press reported.

The rule in question, Army Regulation 670-1, bans hairstyles that require twists and dreadlocks, among other options preferred by minority soldiers.

Sgt. Jasmine Jacobs of the Georgia National Guard, has petitioned the White House to overturn the policy. She needs 100,000 signatures by April 19 for the Obama administration to publicly comment on the matter. The petition currently has roughly 85,000 signatures.

The Army contends that the grooming requirement is needed to “maintain uniformity.”

“Many hairstyles are acceptable, as long as they are neat and conservative,” Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, told the Huffington Post. “In addition, headgear is expected to fit snugly and comfortably, without bulging or distortion from the intended shape of the headgear and without excessive gaps. … Unfortunately, some hairstyles do not meet this standard or others listed in AR 670-1.”

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