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  •  There still are soldiers that object (21+ / 0-)

    to serving with black people. We appropriately dismiss  their opinions as not worthy of consideration.

    Trickle down Equality isn't working

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 10:53:41 AM PDT

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    •  And, in fact, if they express their opinions (15+ / 0-)

      too freely or in inappropriate ways, we actively kick them out of the service.

      •  I know that's what's supposed (10+ / 0-)

        to happen, but I'm wondering what the realities for various racial minorities are. There's a pretty clear picture that life for women in the military is no picnic even though gender discrimination/sexual assault are officially outlawed.

        •  Doesn't happen often enough, would be my guess (8+ / 0-)

          There was one concrete example I can point to, from Maro Chermayeff's 10-hour documentary Carrier, during which camera crews followed various crew members on the U.S.S. Nimitz during a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf. A self-described redneck boy from Oklahoma (I think it was) got himself discharged for racial bias after getting brought up on charges for making racial slurs and other racially charged incidents over the course of the deployment.

          Now, it could be debated whether or not that dismissal would have happened had it not been for the presence of a documentary film crew, and it also seems possible that the discharge was largely motivated by the crew member's desire to get out of the service by hook or by crook. Although he admitted on-camera to being raised in a racist family and believing that as a white man he was superior to people of color, he nevertheless appeared to have good working and interpersonal relationships with the numerous crew members of color in his unit.

        •  Not being a racial minority (6+ / 0-)

          I can't speak with absolute authority. But I can vouch for the fact that in my five years in the military I never even once heard a racial epithet directed at anyone other than Arabs (and among Sailors, the "towelhead" stuff was called out most of the time, though it was tolerated among the Marines I worked with).

          There was also no discernible structural racism, and there were more racial minorities than white people above me in my chain of command at all times. All of my immediate superiors, over the course of five years, were Hispanic or Filipino.

          There were racist attitudes imported from individual people's backgrounds, but on the whole my experience was that (unlike sexism and homophobia, which run rampant) racism, especially racism against other servicemembers, simply is. not. tolerated. at any level in the military that I had the privilege of seeing. Of course, I can't speak for the atmosphere among officers, which is much more fraternity/boys' club than the enlisted side.

          •  Sad commentary (6+ / 0-)

            on the prevalence of sexism and homophobia in the enlisted ranks.  How odd that racism is considered off limits, but the other forms of bigotry aren't.

            Thanks for the insight.

            •  Not really odd at all. (0+ / 0-)

              The military has made great efforts to eliminate racism in the ranks.  While I seriously doubt it's completely succeeded, it's certainly made the attempt.

              On issues of sexism, it's really behind the times.  I'm sure that the official policy is one of zero tolerance, but the practical reality appears to be quite different.

              As for homophobia, since it is actually the official, legally sanctioned policy of the U.S. military, it's hardly surprising that it is tolerated.  Let us not forget that DADT is de jure discrimination.  Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, a law declaring open homosexuality incompatible with military service.  It's helpful to remeber what 10 U.S.C. § 654(a) actually says:

              (13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.

              (14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces' high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

              (15) The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

              Now, having read that, is it really surprising that bigotry is tolerated?  Given a statutory directive to discriminate, I'd be surprised if the result were anything else.

              Maladie d'Amour, Où l'on meurt d'Aimer, Seul et sans Amour, Sid'abandonné

              by FogCityJohn on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 12:27:06 AM PDT

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      •  not necessarily... (10+ / 0-)

        ...not since, thanks to the bush regime, known skinheads and neo-nazis are now able to serve openly...swastika tattoos and all (to meet enlistment requirements, doncha know...)

        a policy, that to my knowledge, has CONTINUED under our current commander-in-chief.

        "A time comes when silence is betrayal." ~ MLK, Jr...Where has CANDIDATE Obama gone?

        by liberaldemdave on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 11:30:48 AM PDT

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        •  That's where the "too freely" part kicks in (8+ / 0-)

          But yes, in order to meet (or, in most cases, just to come anywhere close to meeting) recruiting targets, the military has lowered its standards for enlistment numerous times, and is willing (too willing, in my judgement) to overlook criminal records, abysmal lack of education, drug use, and biases of all kinds. Nor do I recall hearing anything about our Farce Advocate having put an end to any of that. Must be one of those military "reforms" that Gates has sitting on the back (right) burner.

          •  so, clearly visible swastika tattoos... (8+ / 0-)

            AT THE ENLISTMENT OFFICE, weren't dis-qualifiers then WTF would be? (i know we agree, musings85, i'm just gobsmacked by the level they've sunk to in recruiting while still defending the discrimination against glb patriots)

            "A time comes when silence is betrayal." ~ MLK, Jr...Where has CANDIDATE Obama gone?

            by liberaldemdave on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 11:54:43 AM PDT

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            •  i blogged about this... (11+ / 0-)

              ...early on in this debate and here's some food for thought from thesalon.com source article (emphasis added):

              When it comes to screening out racists at recruitment centers, military regulations appear to have collapsed. "We don't exclude people from the army based on their thoughts," says S. Douglas Smith, an Army public affairs officer. "We exclude based on behavior." He says an "offensive" or "extremist" tattoo "might be a reason for them not to be in the military." Or it might not. "We try to educate recruiters on extremist tattoos," he says, but "the tattoo is a relatively subjective decision" and shouldn't in itself bar enlistment.

              What about something as obvious as a swastika? "A swastika would trigger questions," Smith says. "But again, if the gentlemen said, 'I like the way the swastika looked,' and had clean criminal record, it's possible we would allow that person in." "There are First Amendment rights," he adds.

              In the spring, I telephoned at random five Army recruitment centers across the country. I said I was interested in joining up and mentioned that I had a pair of "SS bolts" tattooed on my arm. A 2000 military brochure stated that SS bolts were a tattoo image that should raise suspicions. But none of the recruiters reacted negatively, and when pressed directly about the tattoo, not one said it would be an outright problem. A recruiter in Houston was typical; he said he'd never heard of SS bolts and just encouraged me to come on in.

              sounds like the houston recruiter got the "don't ask, don't tell tattoo memo".

              the whole article made me furious.

              "A time comes when silence is betrayal." ~ MLK, Jr...Where has CANDIDATE Obama gone?

              by liberaldemdave on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 12:07:50 PM PDT

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            •  I'd argue that they should be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              liberaldemdave

              Though  I suppose it's possible (to put the most positive spin on this imaginable) that an argument could be made that refusing to allow someone to enlist because of a swastika tattoo would constitute an unconstitutional infringement on the right to freedom of expression. It would also be possible, though I seriously doubt that anyone who walked into a recruiting office wearing such a tattoo would know enough to do so, to claim that, while swastikas are almost universally associated with Nazism, racism, and skinhead culture in the United States, they are in fact also used in certain eastern religions as a sun symbol and have even been used as Christian emblems.

              (For example, at the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory--built in 1897--there is a frieze running around the rotunda at the entrance that displays a number of astronomical symbols--including swastikas. There are also grave markers in the Musée de Cluny--more formally, the Musée National du Moyen Âge or National Museum of the Middle Ages--in Paris that show burial portraits of 13th- and 14th-century clerics wearing vestments embroidered with swastika motifs.)

            •  I think this is probably false (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clarknt67, Betty Pinson, incognita

              If in fact it did happen that someone enlisted with swastika tattoos, whoever allowed it made a mistake. All the services have recently tightened their tattoo regulations - no tattoos that would be visible in uniform are allowed at all, and hidden tattoos are still subject to inspection for gang membership signifiers or offensive or racist content. People with tattoos have to write an essay about what they mean and submit it before they can enlist, and offensive/racist content is a disqualifier.

        •  That's because parents who love their kids (0+ / 0-)

          aren't about to send them to slaughter.  So, the minimum qualifications had to be lowered significantly.

          Indict, convict, imprison. "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

          by incognita on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 01:31:00 PM PDT

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        •  But funny enough, (0+ / 0-)

          in some branches, if you have what they deem to be "too many" tattoos, you can't serve.

          Just one swastika, plus an appropriately convincing "I promise that's not part of my life anymore"?  You're in.

          Ten tattoos, all of which are visible, none of which are offensive?  Too bad, you don't meet "service appearance criteria".

          The military rarely has its priorities straight on anything, IMO.

          America's military went to war. America went to the mall.

          by talismanlangley on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 03:25:28 PM PDT

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