Thursday, February 05, 2009

Guide To Command of Negro Naval Personnel

Ha! That title got your attention - but I am serious. This is the perfect Diversity Thursday for the first Thursday in Feb.

Let's look at, sadly, a part of our Navy's history that isn't discussed enough, if at all, by the
Diversity Bullies. The Navy was one of the most progressive organizations in our nation's history when it came to trying to push over the mountain of bigotry that has stood in our way as a nation.

In that light, I want to point you to NAVPERS-15092, Guide To Command of Negro Naval Personnel. This is from 1945. Think where we as a nation - especially we Southerners of European extraction, Bostonians, Washingtonians, LA types, and New Yorkers - were WRT racial equality. All of us should take pride that at such an early stage in the shift to a more equal society - the US Navy was at the very edge of the progressive evolution in race relations. Something we should be proud of - and something that should make us question why we in the Navy of 2009 are still embracing retrograde, debunked, archaic racial theory from the 1970s.

Some of the stuff here is well outdated and even insulting to the 21st Century mind - but what is interesting is how much of it - even now - seems so exactly right and in need of more work. It would be great if, considering the context of its time, we could remind ourselves of some of this advice.
The mission of the Naval Establishment is the protection of our country, its possessions and its interests. It includes neither social reform nor support of the personal social preferences of its personnel. In the accomplishment of this mission it is mandatory that the training and ability of all Naval personnel be utilized to the fullest.

It must be recognized that problems of race relations do exist and that they must be taken into account in plans for the prosecution of the war. In the Naval Establishment they should be viewed however solely as matters of efficient personnel utilization.

In general, the same methods of discipline, training and leadership that have long proven successful in the Naval Establishment will be found to apply to the Negro enlisted man. However, the effective administration and use of Negro personnel does call for special knowledge and techniques in some instances.

This is the result of the fact that Negroes as a group have had a history different from that of the majority of Naval personnel. Their educational opportunities have been restricted; the percentage of skilled workers is smaller; and participation in the life of the nation has been limited.

It is the purpose of this pamphlet to point out group differences in background and experience of significance to the officer with Negroes in his command, and to suggest approaches which may be of aid to him in the performance of his duties. The success or failure of each Commanding Officer in the administration of Negroes under him will be determined largely by the spirit in which he approaches the problem and the degree of attention given to it.
Read it all, and remember, again, this was 1945. How did we lose this perspective?
Attitudes and Policy

It is worse than useless to deny or ignore the existence of personal racial preferences and prejudices. Such opinions and attitudes are no more rare among military than among civilian personnel, and must be taken into account just as any other human factor in the conduct of the Naval Establishment.

This does not mean, however, that such attitudes may be accepted as a controlling factor in the formulation of general policy or in day to day operations.
It is encumbent on, and expected of each officer that his attitudes and day to day conduct of affairs reflect a rigid and impartial adherence to Naval regulations, in which no distinction is made between the color of individuals wearing the uniform. This pattern of thought should be passed on by each officer to the enlisted men, both White and Negro, under him.
Go through the Diversity files here - we have lost our mark.

So yes, if you must; celebrate Black and or African-American History Month as the Diversity Bullies want you to - but turn the blade back on them. Take pride in the Navy's cutting edge legacy in moving race relations forward ahead of the society as a whole - and help her regain that heritage by moving towards a "Navy Blue" color blind service.

The CINC is a good "Ref. A" where the nation is - we should be ahead of it.

1 comment:

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