Daily Archives: April 6, 2015

An Interesting Military

We have one. It’s the petri dish in which larger society sees itself in its best moments. We got universal healthcare, humanist chaplains, girls hauling heavy machinery, above board permission to be a sexual being…there is much to celebrate in an institution better known for its predominantly aggressive, male-centric unspoken code. Yet there is still work to be done. I tell ya, this old army of mine is still smashing walls of awareness, but there are casualties. Now this happy shit is from the fever swamps of The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s home for wayward fucking lunatics, but still, here it is:

The U.S. Army is investigating an unauthorized diversity training presentation on “white privilege” shown to hundreds of Georgia soldiers, USA Today reported, citing an Army spokeswoman.

“Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. ‘To be white in American (sic) means not having to think about it,’” one bullet point read.

Some of the soldiers sounded off:

“Pretty sick of hearing about white privilege. Nearly my entire chain of command and NCO support channel have been Hispanic or black since I joined,” Tim Wilson Jr. added.

“True story: I went to a forced EEO class and the white female SSG said we white folks were a problem. I looked around the room and everyone of every race were rolling their eyes,” Scott Hampton Truelove recalled. “We of all races went fishing, eating out, having BBQs, went to the club, together. We all never had a problem with race. We as a group stood up and walked out. She was cutting into our beer drinking time.”

But Digby deftly exposes one of the unfortunate realities of military service; if you are black or any Other, there’s a good chance you won’t make it into the officer ranks. I wandered many a hall of portraits of our senior leadership, and the difference screams from the display; NCOs are predominantly black and hispanic, and the officer cadre is as lily-white as can be. The stratification is as plain as day. It exposes the inequality in education of the races. Sure, you can get to Sergeant Major with a skin color, but even the highest ranking NCO doesn’t make as much money as your garden variety major, despite having a great deal of responsibility for the day to day operations of a successful unit. Sure, ultimately the officers bear the burden of accountability for the putative success or failure of a unit, but if it weren’t for the tenacity and competence of a non-commisioned core, there would be no fucking unit to speak of…

Command of the Army’s main combat units — its pipeline to top leadership — is virtually devoid of black officers, according to interviews, documents and data obtained by USA TODAY.

The lack of black officers who lead infantry, armor and field artillery battalions and brigades — there are no black colonels at the brigade level this year — threatens the Army’s effectiveness, disconnects it from American society and deprives black officers of the principal route to top Army posts, according to officers and military sociologists. Fewer than 10% of the active-duty Army’s officers are black compared with 18% of its enlisted men, according to the Army.

Blacks and Hispanics may be minorities, but not in the services. Every goddamn color and niche you can think of joins for the promise of greater things. The numbers are lopsided…there’s a preponderance of minorities looking for a hand up that heed the call. It’s high time leadership reflects the true colors of the service. Educate them and lift them to be all they can be.


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