U.S. Military Giving More Special Treatment to Minorities
There are two military-related news stories that came out recently:
Both involve minorities being given special treatment.
In the Sikh’s case, his religious beliefs require that he wear a turban and a full beard, whereas Army regulations have equally strict dress and appearance policies. The two don’t match-up.
Then there’s the 16 West Point cadets, all of them black women, who posed in uniform at their barracks for an unofficial class photo with their fists in the air, a la the Black Panthers. The Yahoo article I linked to above says it was a perfectly innocent act, but I’m not buying.
As such, I’m honestly not sure which example is more disconcerting.
The military isn’t inclusive. At least it isn’t supposed to be. It’s supposed to encourage order and discipline and conformity. Sure, skin color and accents and body mass distributions can vary, but the common soldier’s uniform is made to blend in, not stand out. And boot camp is supposed to chip away at recruits’ sense of self until they’re a unified group instead of individual persons.
Why? Because that’s the best way to win wars, which is what the military is supposed to do.
When you’re an individual, you think about your own safety, which means you damn well don’t go running out into a hail of bullets or exploding grenades just because you’re told to.
When you’re a group, however, you’re focused on its larger good. And if that good can be best maintained by accepting orders to put yourself in harm’s way, then so be it.
It’s the everyday American civilian’s right to wear a turban and full beard, as in the case of the Sikh recruit. And it’s the everyday American civilian’s right to make race a big deal, as in the case of the 16 black female recruits. It’s also the everyday American civilian’s right to stay comfy safe at home.
It’s not the military’s.
(To be continued...)