There is not systemic racism in the military, at least not in the Army, at least not from my point of view. My experience includes growing up in the Army as an “Army Brat,” serving almost 25 years in the active Army, raising three boys who have served in the active Army (one is still on active duty), and now continuing to serve as a volunteer admissions representative for West Point.
My experience spans my lifetime, 1945 to present. In absolutely all my experiences, I have not seen racial discrimination. As a kid in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, I lived on Army posts – mainly in the South – in Army quarters; went to Department of Defense schools; played in the post sports little leagues; participated in Boy Scouts; and worshiped at post chapels (no denominations, by the way).
All soldiers and their dependents of all races lived, worked and played together. We were American soldiers and dependents of American soldiers. We weren’t African Americans, Asian Americans, white Americans – just Americans. The military has always led the way in this country when it comes to racial integration; Black soldiers were integrated into regular Army combat units as early as the Korean War. I cannot recall one single incident of racial prejudice or segregation in all my years associated with the Army. And I’m not blind; my eyes were and still are open.
Thus, the efforts – hardly disguised – by the current administration at the federal level, current Secretary of Defense, mainstream media, Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other people and organizations who like to stir the pot and dredge up trouble and animosity for their own political and personal interests disappoint me. I believe in truth, absolute truth – not relative or subjective – and the truth is that there is no systemic racism in the Army.
Are there isolated incidents? Of course, but they are just that – isolated. Often, people perceive attitudes that aren’t real, particularly if they are repeated enough times. I’ve served two combat tours in the Army infantry, and I remember the soldiers I served with. What I don’t remember are their races. They were my commanders, my subordinates, my peers, my colleagues, my friends.
Our blood was the same color. It was all red – not black, white, yellow, or green. For someone to suggest that American soldiers experience reality otherwise is disgraceful.
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