Tag Archives: African Americans

An Apology Long Overdue

More then six decades after a tragic example of racism in America in which African American soldiers wee wrongfully accused of a crime, the United States armed forces issued an apology. The Army acknowledged that 28 black soldiers were wrongly convicted after a riot and lynching of an Italian in Seattle during World War II. Ronald James, assistant secretary of the Army form manpower and reserve affairs, admitted, “The Army is genuinely sorry. I am genuinely sorry.” the convictions of the soldiers was set aside, their dishonorable discharges were changed to honorable discharged and they and their survivors were awarded back pay for their time in the brig.

the incident happened on August 14, 1944 when a scuffle broke out between a black soldier and an Italian POW. Forty three soldiers were charged with rioting and three with murder. One soldier was charged with rioting even though witnesses said he tried to quell the disturbance.

The American army during World War II was segregated and blacks were basically made to work in serves like driving trucks or building things. It was a world that hopefully will never again return as the nation has moved past that tragic era.

Is Marine Ad A Racist Statement?

A new advertisement for the Marine Corps has stirred controversy and charges it is a racist statement which insults African Americans. The ad, called Leap, depicts a young black male standing on a high diving board platform over looking a swimming pool while a narrator says, “I faced one of the toughest challenges of my life there. I couldn’t swim” but he was encouraged by his drill instructor, “so I jumped in. Unsure, apprehensive, and scared out of my mind. But, I came up a Marine” and in the ad he emerges in full combat gear. In 1995, General Mundy, then head of the Marine Corps stated on 60 Minutes that black Marines couldn’t swim as well as whites and if you gave them a compass and “send them across the terrain at night in a land navigation exercise, they don’t do as well as whites.”

One can take the assumption of the advertisement to be that African Americans should join the Marines and take a shot at getting killed in order to learn how to swim. This might well be a fascinating example of how to learn to be a swimmer, but why not simply go down to a pool and get fifteen minutes of instruction in how to swim. It’s a lot safer.

We do not believe the Marine Corps is racist, but, every so often hidden fears and prejudices inadvertently emerge. How about a white female in the next Leap ad?

Congressional Black Leaders Blast Military Discrimination

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed their growing anger at failures of the military to implement affirmative action programs. According to Rep. Robert Scott, “there has been a disturbing levelling off among the upper ranks in the last few years” so that today there is only one four star African American general, General William Ward, who was recently named head of the African command. At present, African Americans constitute about 17% of the United States army, but only 5.8% of them are found in top level officers. Of the 929 flag officers in the U.S. military, 818 are white males which means only 12% are African American, female or from other ethnic groups. Rep. Sheila Jackson said: “There is a sense of outrage at the lack of opportunity in the military today” among African Americans.

The integration plans of the US military have been widely praised as among the most successful affirmative action efforts in American society. Colin Powell rose to the position of leading the entire American armed forces, but there apparently has been a notable drop in the desire for integration within the past few years. As of now, no one knows the reason for the failure to ensure African Americans or females or other ethnic groups are represented in the ranks of top level officers. Is there a connection between the lack of affirmative action progress and a Bush administration which opposes the very concept of affirmative action?