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U.S. Department of Defense attacks tight-curly hairstyles.

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 08-27-2014 | in Freedom, Human Relations, Race, Government,



The U.S Navy discharged a sailor for refusing to cut off her natural tight-curly hair or cover it with a wig. Jessica Sims had been a sailor for 12-years. She wore the same style since 2005 without problems. However, the Department of Defense (DOD) issued new hairstyle regulations in March that mostly centered on the natural tight-curly hair texture styles. It prohibited dreadlocks and twisted, matted hair as unkempt, but allowed cornrows as long as they were conservative. Sims said that her hair swept into a bun met the two-inch regulations and that she could don a gas mask without leakage. Nevertheless, the Navy discharged her for "failing to obey an order when she refused to cut her hair, straighten it, or wear a straight wig. 

Dr. Kristie Mitchell is another former member of U.S. Armed Forces troubled by the new DOD hair regulations. She had been a Major in the U.S. Army as a psychiatrist. She reported having to change from neat natural tight-curly hairstyles to those more like straight hairstyles. She complied with the regulations by cutting her hair. However, she found the experience humiliating having to style her hair short like a man, use hazardous chemicals or use hot irons to straighten her hair.  DOD regulations describing "dreadlocks" and "twisted styles as unkempt were particularly demeaning. The restricted hairstyle regulations motivated her to leave military service although she previously found treating military members rewarding. 

The DOD regulation describing tight-curly hairstyles as unkempt is an example of the many seemingly innocuous attacks on self-image endured by Americans society classifies a black-race minority. This particular type attack is not new. DOD reintroduced or continued them from the 1960s when military and civilian authorities used them against black-race-labeled Americans. 

Those attacks were and are against the self-image of an oppressed group of people and not about the hair in and of itself. Society should not deny opportunity for employment and education to people or general acceptance in society unless they reject their natural physical traits as unattractive. 

At one time society considered American females with dark-brown skin coloring and tight-curly hair unattractive unless they straightened their hair with heat or chemicals. Members of oppressed groups that adopt their oppressors' image for a standard of attractiveness have been demoralized.They are unlikely to achieve personal autonomy. They lose all sense of personal identity when the self-described "white majority" names them its "black minority" foil. A foil is anything that serves by contrast to call attention to another group or item's good qualities. 

The, "I'm black and I'm proud" movement of the 1960s suggested an evolving sense of self-determination among society's oppressed black-race-labeled Americans. I never accepted "black" to describe my dark-brown skin color, nor for a racial identity. Nevertheless, change requires a beginning. People's new awareness of their physical attractiveness and dignity was the beginning of change no matter how they labeled it. They expressed their new self-determined identity with natural tight-curly hairstyles in place of artificially straightened hair. American society responded to this self-determined image as an attack on its values. DOD, civilian employers, school authorities and law enforcement treated tight-curly hairstyles as belligerence they must suppress.   

Earth's life forms mostly change slowly over time and not suddenly over weeks. This rule proved true for a high percent of the 1960-70 era claims of "black" pride and self-determination. Many of them yielded to the social and economic pressure, exclusion and threats to employment, and reverted to straight-hairstyles. Others had only donned the new hairstyles as a fad. Not fully convinced of the physical attractiveness of their natural features they returned to straight-hairstyles. The mass reversion to a confused, demoralized view of self by so many people saddened me. I doubted that a second awakening would happen during my lifetime. 

Decades later, a growing number of self-determined individuals show ownership of their self-images like those people that persisted from earlier times. They are not a movement. Instead, they are autonomous persons aware of the attractiveness of their physical traits and of nature's many attractive combinations of human body, skin color, and hair textures. 

This month, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered changes in the enforcement of the hair regulations to allow female service members to have a wider range of hairstyles. Perhaps remarks of service members like Sims and Mitchell influenced this decision. Maybe President Obama, Commander in Chief expressed an opinion. 

Nevertheless, the Navy found that Sims hair still violated their guidelines and that she had disobeyed an order.  




Fourth of July without freedom.

Written By Kenneth Brooks on 07-03-2014 | in Freedom, Critical Thinking, Human Relations, Race, Ethics, Government,

Hypocrisy about the principles of human equality and freedom is a trait of American society. In a few days, Americans will celebrate the July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence from Britain. It set out self-evident truths of human equality and creator endowment of certain human rights including life and liberty. However, American society celebrates a model of republican government of free people it never achieved. It cannot achieve this model while denying an opposite history of inequality and oppression.

The Articles of Confederation (1777) set out the perpetual union of States and founded the United States of America. U.S. Constitution (1787) supposedly converted the United States of America to a constitutional republic. It did not achieve this goal. Each individual is autonomous in a republic, but the U.S. Constitution approved government authority to enslave. Despite this history, Americans celebrate Fourth of July as if America's founders faultlessly installed the government modeled in the Declaration or that society eventually achieved them.

Americans have a bias for rationalizing or arbitrarily dismissing history they dislike. Apologists assert "They were men of their time" in defense of the founders' immoral conduct of enslaving kidnapped Africans to satisfy goals of greed. What does the excuse "men of their time" mean? It cannot mean they did not understand the principles of human equality, because they claimed them in the Declaration of Independence.

Perhaps "men of their time" means they embraced the race, gender, and class bigotry of the time believing property-owning "white" males were intellectually superior to all others. If so, this bigotry does not absolve them of deliberately violating accepted principles of right and wrong. They affirmed in the Declaration of Independence unalienable rights of humans endowed by a creator. Unalienable rights are rights incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another. The Declaration's self-evident truths did not include the qualification of exceptional humans with authority to deny human equality and human rights of other people. Otherwise, it would assert self-evident contradictions and not self-evident truths.

Most Americans praise the American model of cultural diversity, respect for difference, as society achieving the Declaration's model of human equality. History refutes this conclusion made from inverted morality and logic. America used the same skin-color standard of deciding human difference and human worth to justify enslavement, racial segregation, and cultural diversity. In other words, American society's idea of cultural diversity is respect for the presumptions of human difference decided by racism with racial stereotypes as culture.

The Declaration refers to the human equality and rights of individuals. It does no mention racial or ethnic groups. Individual autonomy and control over self-image are essentials of a union of free people with shared interests. However, individuals sacrifice autonomy by adopting a racial or ethnic-group image because stereotyping necessarily subordinates individual identity to group identity.

America's founders created a role for government authority over human rights in a Constitution that supported enslavement. Americans increase the domain of government authority over human rights each time one group uses it successfully to deny another group's human equality and endowed human rights. This is true if the grouping is by race, gender, class, or other classification. Ironically, oppressed groups use of government authority to restore human rights often increases government authority over human rights too.

Americans must refuse government authority over human rights if they want to create United States of America as a Republic of free autonomous individuals. Government authority should extend only to protecting the human rights (rights to life, liberty, property, etc...) of one person from another person's abuses, but it should never have authority to decide entitlement of rights on an individual or group basis. Americans have the choice of bigotry or freedom.


 

 

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