Allen B. West

Military having a bad hair day over rules for black women

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Recently we wrote about the concerns of one US Navy F-18 fighter pilot, Cmdr. Guy Snodgrass, regarding the overt Obama administration emphasis on social issues over national security and military readiness. You might think this was just a lone voice, but it could well be a harbinger of more to follow. Folks, what I am about to share, well, you just cannot make this stuff up.

According to Foxnews.com, “The military is reviewing its new regulations involving soldiers’ appearance after criticism by some black military women and lawmakers who argue that changes in the hair requirement are racially biased.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will make whatever adjustments to the policy are appropriate after a completing a review requested by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. “I want to assure you that, while none of the Army’s revised grooming and appearance policies were designed or intended to discriminate or disparage against any service members, I take your concerns very seriously,” Hagel wrote in a response letter obtained by the Military Times.”

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The Army earlier this month issued new appearance standards that ban most twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows –styles used predominantly by black women with natural hairstyles.

Sixteen female members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Hagel calling the changes “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color. Though we understand the intent of the updated regulation is to ensure uniformity in our military, it is seen as discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color with little regard to what is needed to maintain their natural hair.” They also said that references in the regulation to hairstyles worn mostly by black women as “unkempt” and “matted” are offensive and show a lack of “cultural sensitivity,” according to the Military Times.

So the members of the Congressional Black Caucus have nothing to say about the decimation of our US Army capability to fulfill our national security roles and missions?

They said not a word when Secretary Hagel announced his planned reduction of our force to pre-World War II levels. What they are upset about is hair. HAIR. Cornrows and dreadlocks. I know a little bit about the Army and appearance regulations, and at issue is the compatibility of certain hairstyles with proper donning of the standard Army headgear, especially in garrison.

What so many of these chuckleheads fail to realize is that the mission of the US Military is not about conforming it to individual behavior or style. The mission is about conforming the individual to the culture, principles, values, and standards of the Military. It is not a “civvies” organization and it does discriminate — height, weight, physical ability. Why? Because the mission of the military is about fighting and winning our nation’s wars, not social egalitarianism and social justice. And don’t feed me the bovine excrement about integration of the forces. Race versus behavior are totally different issues.

It was discriminatory to separate troops based upon race, a characteristic that unlike behavior –or hairstyles — cannot be changed.

What are the national security imperatives and objectives for liberal progressives? I think we see clearly.

During the Clinton administration we were mandated to conduct “sensitivity training” all the while we were losing the resources to train our men and women — but hey, how did that “urban midnight basketball” social program work out?

Boy howdy, do I feel for my brother and sister leaders, my friends, still in the Army, all across the military. Now, they have to be cognizant of natural hair sensitivities — perhaps we should start training our men and women in beauty parlors and not rifle ranges?

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