Thursday, January 24, 2013

Diversity Thursday

Just as a reminder of what is going on at the front lines, former active duty helo pilot, USNA graduate, and - from 2007-10 a history teacher at Annapolis, J.A. Cauthen gives a front line view of much that we covered over the same timeframe from afar.

I highly encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are some highlights;
... expanding diversity in search of greater “fairness” actually institutionalizes a system of bias. Using diversity to manufacture demographic proportionality necessarily becomes insidious and counterproductive.

As a former history instructor at the Naval Academy (from 2007-2010), I witnessed the failings of the diversity initiative first hand. The poisonous atmosphere it created among midshipmen, faculty, and staff in non-academic and academic settings was detrimental to the cohesion of the institution.  Unfortunately, once the diversity fetish is infused into an institution, it is nearly impossible to eradicate.

Changes made at the Academy in the name of diversity seemed harmless, if nonsensical, at first.   For example, the Academy’s alma mater was revised to be gender-neutral by deleting the word “men” from two stanzas.  (One wonders why students then are still called midshipmen.) That change was maddening even to some female alumni. But diversity demands ever-increasing action no matter how nonsensical.

This reckless search for the “correct” color and gender proportions manifested itself in one of the more callous examples I witnessed at the Naval Academy. The color guard, all male and mostly white, was invited to present the nation’s colors at the 2009 World Series in New York. At the last minute, the prospective color guard captain, a student of mine, was removed and replaced by a junior female member. According to the Washington Post, the motive for the change was to “make the service academy look more diverse before a national audience.”

Maybe it did, but the action was an affront to individual merit.

Diversity initiatives also tended to dilute academic expectations and standards. For instance, faculty members often had to refer midshipmen to the writing center for remedial instruction. Even with this resource, lecture and instructional time was sacrificed in order to teach basic essay writing to midshipmen. Basic writing is a skill you would assume nearly all college students (and especially those at the Naval Academy) would have learned in high school.

Bewildering as it may seem, some of my colleagues and I also had to devote a lecture period to library familiarization and usage. We discovered that many midshipmen had no idea how to navigate a library or access its resources. Fundamental reading, writing, and researching abilities should be assumed skills. When midshipmen arrived in class without those foundational skills, the academic environment suffered.

I remember well one prominent example of the problems associated with midshipmen who had been recruited and admitted under diversity initiatives.

This particular midshipman had a combined SAT score of 800: 450 math and 350 verbal.  The midshipman’s reading comprehension and writing ability were well below the university level and likely below that of high school. Not surprisingly, this student struggled all semester.

The breaking point came with the submission of a plagiarized paper. The midshipman simply Googled “French Revolution,” copied and pasted in the first link’s content, and submitted it. I failed that individual in the course, documented the transgression, and forwarded the case to Honor Board for adjudication. But the midshipman was retained. 
It seems that the nation’s highest levels of military leadership have succumbed to the false promise of diversity. How much of this is politically mandated? Admitting and graduating under- or unqualified midshipmen will eventually undermine the institution and the officer corps with potentially tragic consequences, but it resonates with the political elite because diversity has become an end unto itself.

Our nation’s civilian and military leadership evidently desire a more diverse military, one that better reflects demographic currents and those to come.

What they are overlooking is that military effectiveness is predicated on discipline, professionalism, and competence. Effective leadership is based on, among other qualities, trust, confidence, fairness, and competence. Everything else, including ethnicity and gender, is, or at least ought to be, irrelevant.

Winning wars, like winning in sports, requires the best talent, irrespective of race and gender. If our military is comprised of all white males or all Hispanic females because they merit the position, so be it. But to artificially construct a military based on a desired composition simply because it reflects the nation’s changing demographics or satisfies a political fetish is egregiously foolish. 
No link to 'ole Sal, sadly. However, the WaPo article does link to CDRSalamander on the Color Guard story that was broke here, so we'll take the boobie prize. 

As I continue to snivel, for the record, the use of "fetish" to address the obsession our institutions have with this Cultural Marxist concept was first brought in to common use in this blog a half-decade ago ... but I quibble. :) More and more, the truth is getting out, and these cancerous policies cannot stand the light and fresh air that they so very much need. 

5 comments:

Battlejag said...

CDR Sal - I'm new to your blog. Where has it been all of my life? I would direct my Navy son (USNA 2012) to your font of truth and wisdom, but he is fresh-caught and needs the perspective of a little time in the fleet before he is ready to appreciate your critique of the emporers' (and empresses') new clothes. Keep writing, and thanks! - Battlejag

Battlejag said...

...make that "emperors'." Tks.

FDNF'er said...

A good friend of mine recently left USNA as a company officer. He had a midshipman in his company with repeated Honor and Conduct violations and at one point had the entire Chain of Command (Officer, Midshipman and Senior Enlisted) recommend the Mid for separation. The Mid was retained by the Commandant. Less than a year into the Ensign's JO tour on a ship, the now-Officer was caught sleeping with a Sailor. Who was this Officer? A female, minority, Jewish, Varsity Athlete. No, I am not making this up. She was kicked out of the Navy and the Fleet suffered once again from the ills of the diversity fetish. How much more do we have to take?

Anonymous said...

How sad to see a fine institution sacrificed to the false gods of diversity!

CDR Mike Harkleroad (ret)

Damn Skippy said...

This is why I will not let my sons or daughters attend a racist institution like the USNA.