Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Justifying official racism in the military

A shortage of minority generals -- 62 out of 884 in the four combat branches -- is a fact that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld readily acknowledges and insists he's trying to remedy.
Make no mistake; the diversity mafia in the military is strong, dangerous (to your career), and powerful. Speak out against them and they will destroy you – worse than if you were a college academic. A perfect example can be found in the Montgomery Adviser article, “Military Short on Minority Generals.” Every couple of months, you will read something like this. Usually, I ignore them and read on – but being that this is “board results season” (see Appendix C for example) and my Millington spies (thanks for the hint) tell me the usual suspects are doing the usual things; I can’t help myself.

These people are stuck in ‘70s racial thinking and paternalistic policies. Through fear and inaction, they allow an obvious racial bias to exist in order to keep the political Storm Troopers out, and their pet theories in. Part of the problem is that policy is being made by people looking back 20-30 years to their own experience and acting as if nothing in the culture has changed. This is 2006, not 1976.
Both the Pentagon and Hawkins see minority officers as fundamental to the military's success. ... "It's because of the wealth of intellectual capital that's gained," Hawkins said. "Everybody who doesn't look the same doesn't think the same, so you need the wealth of that diversity that comes from having minorities of all races, ethnicities and gender."
Let's mini-Fisk that:
“Everybody who doesn’t look the same doesn’t think the same,..”
Though the statement isn't that clear, if a Caucasian officer said that, he would be typing out retirement papers now.
Right now, according to Shavers, the Pentagon is hoping to increase diversity two ways: by recruiting more promising minority students to become officers...
That is good. That is the way to go. Recruit hard, same standards, level playing field.
..and by helping guide the careers of newly commissioned minority officers. ... "I didn't really even think or believe in that and focus in on that until I was already a colonel selectee," he said. "And so that's why I'm telling you there were some blessings and people in my path that made this possible because, in all honesty, it could have just passed me by, and I'd have never known any difference."
That is bad. Let me tell you why. There are organizations and "mentors" that only work with officers of the same ethinc group. I am sorry, that has no place in the 21st Century. It is just wrong. The men and women joining the military now were born in the last years of the Reagan presidency not Jim Crow.

BG Hawking sounds like a solid, well-meaning officer – but he knows promotion is a zero-sum game. If you do not run a meritocracy, for a fixed number of slots, if you give extra weight due to your DNA, you justification is no different from skinheads and those wearing sheets. Discrimination, both positive and negative, is corrosive and wrong. If you treat your officers or enlisted different just because of their ethnic background you are a racist. I am sorry, I see it - I call it. You are following a wrong racist policy. Call it what you want, I don't care. It is what it is.
Hawkins commissions about 80 percent of the officers entering the Air Force, so he knows first-hand how stiff the competition is for talented minority candidates.
"I see it all the time in this job, when I've got a corporation telling a minority individual that they will pay for all of their college and give them X number of thousands of dollars just to come into their company," he said.
That is the source of the problem that they should be spending time on. There is a limited pool of qualified talent in some ethnic groups (not Asian, South-Asian, or Southwest Asian - if you think the US holds back minorities, read Nicholas Kristof's latest). If you look at High School graduation rates, College graduation rates, incarceration rates, and crime statistics – the pool of degree holders without crime records are very small. Everyone wants “to look like America..” and will fight for that limited pool.

He tells a nice story, but does not explain how he would explain his policy to:
  • Mixed race officers. Why do they have to choose what side of the family they want to call themselves? If they don’t, who “classifies” them?
  • Why should the military give special attention to the son/daughter born in 1988 to a black lawyer and black doctor over the son/daughter born in 1988 in Bosnia who came over here at 7 yrs with nothing but the clothes on his back? Just on melanin content? Is that it?
  • Does a 6’2” blond haired, blue-eyed officer with the last name Gonzelez qualify as a Hispanic to him?
  • Does a dark skinned, brown haired, brown eyed female names O’Neil whose father was half Italian-Columbian / half Andean Indian, and whose mother was of mixed European bloodlines qualify as American Indian, Hispanic, or Caucasian? What? Who decides? Who verifies? What if sitting next to her is a person with lighter skin and blue eyes call himself “African-American.” Who decides, who verifies, who makes the call? The right answer should be “who cares,” but not since the Eugenics Movement of the early 20th Century and the Third Reich have we see people so concerned about race.
  • Why in 2006 should we allow serving 2-Star Admirals to push “select lists” to board members, and that list consist of people only of the same ethnic group of the Admiral?
  • Where in all of recorded history has a culture or nation survived where it has all owed/endorsed a multi-ethnic/multicultural Balkanization of its people?
If interested, there is a video of an interview with BG Hawkins here.

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