The Amlicites had no interest in being associated with the Nephites. They wanted to set themselves apart from their blood relatives because they disagreed so vigorously on politics and religion. This may seem strange to us but it shouldn't. We often see youth or wayward adults mark themselves with certain hairstyles, clothing, tattoos, etc. with the intent to set themselves apart. Their appearance alone becomes an immediate reminder that they do not subscribe to the mainstream institutions. They immediately become defensive if anyone is critical of the "mark" they have placed on themselves. They declare that it just represents freedom of expression and their personal individuality. What is concerning is the underlying motive not the green hair or the tattoo. The individual who feels strongly that they need green hair, like the Amlicites, may be trying to set himself or herself apart from church and family.
Paul H. Dunn
"It is not an unusual thing for young people to rebel. Every new generation has its rebels. But a rebellion of sad young people with little confidence in their own rebellion is something quite unique. One needs only to have a brief exposure to a university environment to witness the demonstrations of rejection against proven values. Beards, long hair, grubby clothes, sit-ins, and the lack of restraint in matters of alcohol, chastity, and drugs are merely the symptoms of the problem that is, at its deepest level, a spiritual problem." (Conference Report, Oct. 1967, p. 124)