The Pentagon Is Reviewing Its Grooming Policies For Racial Bias

Bill Maynard cuts the hair of Jordan Converse at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2012. Bill Maynard cuts the hair of Jordan Converse at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2012. Defense Department file photo

The Pentagon is currently in the process of reviewing grooming policies that some have said are racially biased against African Americans. The list of newly unauthorized hairstyles included twists and other natural hairstyles popular among African American women. The new guidelines received a complaint from the women of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a letter to Congress this week that “within the next 30 days, each service will review the definitions of authorized and prohibited hairstyles contained in each of their respective policies and revise any offensive language,” and that “during the next three months, each service will review their hairstyle policies as they pertain to African American women to ensure standards are fair and respectful of our diverse force.”

In other military style news, soldiers are rushing to get tattoos before stricter military regulations about getting inked go into effect. The new rules restrict the amount of ink visible on a service member wearing short sleeves or shorts, and limit size to no bigger than the tattoo owner’s open hand. However, pre-existing tattoos that violate these requirements can be grandfathered in if the meet decency standards and a photographed before the deadline.

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