Chuck Hagel

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Military’s ban on nappy hair

African American female service members comprise the highest percentage of women in the military. And with these sister servicewomen enlisting in the military at higher rates than their White, Asian and Latina sisters to serve and die for our country, the last thing the military should be squawking about is our hair. In March the Army released an updated policy on appearance and grooming, titled ”AR 670-1,” limiting or banning hairstyles — braids, twists, cornrows, and dreadlocks — inimitable to African American women. The Congressional Black Caucus outraged sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stating ”that the Army policy’s language was ‘offensive’ and ‘biased.”

While many sisters today might use a hot comb on their hair, hot combs (also called straightening combs) were around in the 1880’s, sold in Sears and Bloomingdale’s catalogs to a predominately White female clientele. Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American millionaire for her inventions of Black hair products, didn’t invent the hot comb; she popularized its use by remedying the perceived ”curse” of nappy hair with her hair-straightening products that continues to this day to bring comfort to many Black women. Continue Reading →

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