Tag Archives: Black Caucus

Congressional Black Caucus Feel Insulted By Military

The integration of the armed forces of the United States following World War II was among the most significant success stories of reaching affirmative action goals. However, in recent years there has been a noticeable decline in the number of top ranking officers who are of African American backgrounds. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., believes minorities are less inclined to pursue the long road to promotion than other people resulting in more leaving the service to enter the private sector. Two weeks ago, members of the Black Caucus went to the Pentagon expecting to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff only to discover they were meeting with assistants to the top leaders. The Congressmen left in anger. Apparently, there had been a miscommunication which was finally resolved this week with meeting members of the Joint Chiefs.

Congressional Black Caucus members are attempting to walk the thin line between appearing to force promotions and ensuring that promotions meet affirmative action guidelines. They are urging creation of mentors to assist young black American officers in obtaining promotions. They also are urging a faster track to higher ranks in order to persuade members of the military to remain rather than seek private sector jobs. An important issue being raised is whether the entire promotion process requires extensive review in light of current conditions.

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?