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?

  • Walter77777

    Oy vay iz mir! The Marianne Corps is not racist.
    When I was in the Marines about fifty years ago it was mjust accepted that Black Marines would not be selected for drill teams, and the Chief Drill instructor in gthe “Special Drill Platoon” to which I was assigned before they threw my sorry tushee out of the Corps actually accepted the fact that this and other discriminations against Black Marines were just part of the way things were and would always be.


  • Fred Stopsky

    It is 2008, not 1958. Of course, there is discrimination and prejudice in our society. But, we are not in the period when black Marines were not even allowed to fight on the front lines until Saipan. I don’t believe it was a conscious action, I believe it was the unconscious in which dormant prejudice lives.

  • Sean Arnold

    Jiminey Christmas!!!! Grow up people!!! That ad was a story of a real life Marine who was just a scared kid who grew up and became man in the Marine Corps. I’m a retired Navy Chief and If I had a dime for every scared kid that I saw grow up in the Navy, I would be a rich man. But as usual, some person has to twist a simple ad into something it’s not. I would also bet that the person who started this mess never server one day in ANY branch of service and therefore has NO right to comment on the ad. JUST GROW UP!!!

  • Fred Stopsky

    I agree. Much ado about nothing.