The Crusader Newspaper Group

Every Month is Black History Month: The Military is Lagging Behind

Extremism and racism are playing “tag” as to which is more horrible. Meantime, Black women are fleeing the military like it’s on fire. Their educational attainments and skill sets should enable them to stay and be the beacon on the hill for new recruits. Unfortunately, the services have done an indecent job with promotions, opportunities and access to the fastest tracks among both enlisted and officers.

Why can’t the military get a handle on bad behavior, when both Black and Hispanic troops enter the services at numbers well over their percentages in the U.S. population?

Our first African American Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III says addressing racism in the Department of Defense (DoD) is personal. He picked up the baton just a couple of weeks after both military and veterans were using it to beat law enforcement and threatened sitting Congress members and Senators.

Retired four-star Army General Austin says it’s hard “to keep America safe from our enemies…when they lie within our own ranks.”

Austin was on active duty when rightwing extremists known as “skinheads” entered the services during the 1990s. It took a lot of effort to remove them and today’s problem is more severe.

Between QAnon, Oath Keepers, Neo-Nazis, and White Nationalists – the number of hate group members in the services has amped up. Austin has to figure out how bad their involvement has to be before they get bounced and what training, research, and education needs to look like to eliminate those dangerous to military values, and those just expressing free speech.

Symbols, signs and speech reflecting white supremacy require constant vigilance. Yet the most senior leadership in both officer and Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) ranks are almost all white and male. Until the composition of those making decisions at every level are more reflective of the 41 percent of minority women and men in the ranks, this battle will continue to be uphill.

Austin is ensuring symbols of hate are removed and that all of the confederate named installations, buildings and facilities on military land are changed.

Hopefully great military women and men like Harriett Tubman, Medal of Honor (MOH) recipient William Carney, WWII Commander of the 6888th Mail Battalion, Charity Adams Earley, along with MOH recipient Roy Benevidez, make the cut.

Austin has asked for the status of programs to address sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape across the services, and vowed to eliminate racism from the ranks, while ensuring greater opportunities for minorities in uniform…a tall order and a great start.

Diana D. Danis Lead Administrator, Service: Women Who Serve Advocate, Activist, Writer, Author, Feminist, Anti-Racist with a world view.

Pages from CHICAGO CRUSADER KY 2 6 2021 Page 1 Image 0005

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