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Fear of Racism Among Military Families

Racism is something that has been on the forefront of civil reform in this country for centuries, and sadly is still very evident today. We have heard about racism within the military, but what about for our military families?

A survey was published recently, designed by Blue Star Families and Syracuse University. This survey focused on how our troops and military families deal with racism:

  • Some 42 percent of active-duty troops of color said concerns about racism at certain bases and surrounding communities led them to reject assignments there.
  • More than half of surveyed active-duty personnel or their family members living in these regions (Midwest, South, and West) said they feared for their safety at least once since the start of 2020 because of their race or ethnicity. 43 percent of the Northeast respondents said the same.
  • One in three Black family members of active-duty personnel reported being racially profiled by police.
  • About one in three active duty service members reported experiencing threats or harassment from local or military police in the last two years.
  • A third of service members and their families surveyed also reported at least one incident of being threatened or harassed by their civilian or military community in the last two years.

“A big part of this is to first recognize you have a problem in the military. The survey really helps with that,” Tom Bostick, former chief of the Army Corps of Engineers and former leader of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters.

“I’ve had police come and remove me from a ‘colonel and above’ parking spot when I was a two-star general,” said Bostick, who is Black and Japanese-American. “I worry about those much more junior who don’t have that general placard in their car.”

Personally, I have known a few military families, who happened to be mixed race, that turned down duty assignments due to their concerns with safety. Sadly, military families are at a disadvantage because they often do not have the power to choose where they live.

While the survey tallied how many declined an assignment, I worry about who wasn’t given the option to decline an assignment. Service members with substantial rank and status have the ability to influence their future, but families with lower ranks have little power to influence their duty assignments.

So, when advocating against racism keep those who sacrifice so much without having to raise their right hand, the military families. There do not seem to be any legislative bills in place to help with this, so speak to your congress people and fight for these families.

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