Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Blinded by his own bigotry

Every family has one, well most do. The Great Uncle or other older relative who is a nice, kind, warm man who wouldn't harm another soul. A good man, maybe a Deacon at his church ... but as benign as he appears and intends - he is a bigot.

He will say things that make you blush, angry, and ashamed while at the same time embarrassed. Embarrassed for him because you know that he doesn't see himself and what he says from the point of view of others. He is just blind to the fact that what was once seen as normal opinion and conversation is now obvious for what it is - ignorant, racist bigotry. The man is good - but his ideas are rot.

In Navy Times we see again where sanctioned racist organizations grow roots in permissive soil - and let good men think they are doing good - where if the ethnic groups were reversed - the bigotry would be clear as day.
At that conference, Jackson met Navy and other sea service officers of different races and ethnic backgrounds. Among them were senior officers wearing eagles and stars on their collars. Jackson, a black officer, saw himself in them.

“They looked like me walking around, and they talked to me,” said Jackson, now a captain. “They talked to me, and that made a difference.”
In 28 years in the Navy, Jackson has been a skipper commanding the destroyer McFaul and commodore leading Destroyer Squadron 14. His latest mission as national president of NNOA, meeting this week in Coronado, is to propel the organization through rough waters.
Quite an ethno-centric perspective.
In welcoming remarks Tuesday to a crowd of Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard officers, Rear Adm. Len Hering, who commands Navy Region Southwest, asked each attendee to get involved with local youth organizations, such as the Urban League, and reach out to youngsters and excite them about the Navy as a future career option.
Casting a wide net is great. Racially exclusive effort is not.
Jackson said exceptional minority men and women often are looking past the military services for other career options.

“We are in a war for talent,” he said.
Everyone is. That is not race exclusive. Sure, everyone is hunting for that, as a percentage of the total, rare Mechanical Engineer of Sub-Saharan African extraction - but that is what it is. What and how does he define the growing percentage of mixed race officers?
Jackson said he also wants to expand officer professional development and improve opportunities for advancement and leadership roles, including command. He also wants them to mentor more junior officers. His goal: To see NNOA’s membership rolls grow by 35 percent.
The problem is that some members or his organization take that as an excuse to shop race-exclusive lists to board members. Yes, it happens.

In the end, what he has is a personal desire, but it is just that - a personal desire - based on race. I don't respect his methods, but I do respect the fact that he is someone who wants to see others do as well as he has - but the ends do not justify the means.

How does he think an Asian, Hispanic, or Caucasian officer in his command felt when he was competing with a Black officer who walked around with a NNOA coffee mug? Think he felt like he got a fair shake?

As professionals, of every shade, we owe it to our Sailors to not have non-performance based bias. NNOA is bias by design. It is not a diverse organization. It is an anachronism.
Today is not 28 years ago. The new college graduate today was born in '85-86. We need to join the 21st Century.

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