Are Natural Black Hairstyles Fit For The Navy?
Sims, in her unusual stand, contends that hair regulations are biased against the natural hairstyles of many African-American women, and her career is evidence they are ambiguous at best: She wore her hair in the same style for nine years in the Navy before being ordered to cut it.
She said: “I don’t think I should be told that I have to straighten my hair in order to be within what they think the regulations are, and I don’t think I should have to cover it up with a wig.”
“I do think that it’s a race issue,” Sims said. “The majority of the hairstyles that have the strictest regulations are hairstyles that black women would wear.”
The Navy, however, argued that all dreadlocks are out of regs, and because she has refused to cut them or cover them up, moved to honorably discharge her for “serious misconduct.”
Editor’s Note: This story isn’t a surprise to me, for the longest time natural black hair has been held in contempt. I find it weird that after years and years of wearing her hair in this manner, always neat, clean and within two inches of her head she suddenly is forced to change it or get out. The Navy has since relaxed their standards for women’s hair but it’s still slanted towards not fully accepting natural black hairstyles. But the story has a happy ending because Jessica aint sweatin’ it, she got her discharge papers with her hair on her head and her dignity intact, now she’s headed to Loyola University in Chicago where she will major in biology as a pre-med. Do your thang Jessica! Here are our article highlights:
- Jessica Sims says the Navy’s order amounted to shaving off her locks and wearing a wig which she wasn’t going to do.
- Sims says she always made sure that her hair bun didn’t protrude more than 2 inches from her head, per Navy regulations.
- She is happy she took a stand and says she would do it again, she doesn’t feel her natural hair is “unprofessional”.
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