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US Army’s Project Inclusion to Cut Board Photos in Holistic Effort to Promote Diversity

WASHINGTON — Starting in August, photos will be eliminated from promotion and selection boards as the Army launches “Project Inclusion” to identify practices that inadvertently discriminate, senior leaders announced Thursday.

The project is a holistic effort to listen to Soldiers, civilians and family members and enact initiatives to promote diversity and equity, according to Secretary of the Army Ryan. D. McCarthy.

“A lot has to be done to address the symbolic challenges that we face that could create divisiveness within our ranks,” McCarthy told reporters.

Before deciding to eliminate photos from officer, enlisted and warrant officer promotion boards, leaders looked at a 2017-2018 study that determined, regardless of race or gender, people looking at photos will have an unconscious bias toward individuals with similar characteristics, G-1 officials said. Further, they said Department of the Army photos provide minimal information compared to the rest of a promotion board file.

During an experiment in the study, researchers ran two identical promotion boards: one that included photos and one without. In the one that did not contain photos, researchers found that the outcomes for women and minorities improved. The results contributed to the decision to remove the photos.

Project Inclusion

Project Inclusion will enact a series of initiatives in the next few months to help build a diverse, adaptive, and cohesive force, said Anselm Beach, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for equity and inclusion.

“We, as a leadership team, recognize that we need to take a harder look at ourselves and make sure that we’re doing all that we can to have a holistic effort to listen to our Soldiers, our civilians and our families to enact initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion,” McCarthy said.

In the coming weeks, the Army inspector general and members of the Army Equity and Inclusion Agency will join Army senior leaders as they visit installations, said Under Secretary of the Army James McPherson.

During each visit, leaders will engage in an open and transparent conversation about race, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We know that we have to do more,” McCarthy said. “We are going to have very hard and uncomfortable conversations.”

McPherson said that he wants to hear Soldiers’ thoughts about current events and listen to their ideas on inclusivity.

Each “listening session” will look to identify any impact to mission readiness caused by current social issues, Beach said.

“If a Soldier [or civilian] is distracted by an issue, then they are not fully present to accomplish the mission,” Beach said. “Understanding those impacts allow the Army to enhance mission readiness,” which can lead to new policy or adjustments to an operating environment.

Each session would create a “safe place” for Soldiers to express themselves without fear of reprisal. By creating an open dialogue, people will have a chance to understand and support each other, Beach added.

“This is about leadership,” said Gen. Joseph Martin, the vice chief of staff of the Army. “Leaders have to set conditions for these discussions to happen and be productive. They’ve got to create an environment where a Soldier feels safe. And it’s also an environment that’s free of disbelief.”

McCarthy said leaders will also examine racial disparities within the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Army’s inspector general, Lt. Gen. Leslie Smith, and the Army’s judge advocate general, Lt. Gen. Charles Pede, will then evaluate findings after 60 days and attempt to address the causes of the disparities, McCarthy said.

Changes under Project Inclusion also include the reconstitution of the Army Diversity Council. Led by the secretary of the Army and chief of staff, the council will prioritize diversity programs throughout the Army, all while addressing symbolic and systemic issues, Beach said.

“Part of why we wanted [to host meetings with Soldiers] is to get out and invest exponentially more time engaging with Soldiers at every echelon about these unconscious biases that may exist,” McCarthy said. “We must have a better understanding [of] the challenges every day that ethnic minorities may face. Are there systemic flaws within the promotion system or are there things that may be of a symbolic nature that cause division within our ranks?”

The force is also making changes to the Army People Strategy with the addition of the “Expanding Diverse Talent of the Army Officer Corps Strategic Plan.”

The new plan will focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives to strengthen the Army’s ability to acquire, develop, employ current and future leaders. Similarly, the Army will continue to expand its outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions.

Military justice reform

Tied to the project is an evaluation of the military justice system to determine if any racial disparity or bias exists in the investigation or court-martial processes, McPherson said.

During the assessment, the Army judge advocate general, the Office of the General Counsel, inspector general, and provost marshal will partner and review a range of cases to include absence without leave, urinalysis, and sexual assault or sexual harassment cases.

The review will “compare the severity of punishments by race, and see if there is a disparity… in the result of unconscious bias,” McPherson said.

The Army is also working to determine if the military justice system is more likely to investigate a specific Soldier due to unconscious bias. However, accurately assessing the investigation process could be a challenge, as race and ethnicity information is rarely documented during this stage, he added.

The enduring effort will not only improve equality, but make the force stronger, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville.

“It’s really more about inclusion,” he said. “It’s not just about percentages. It’s not just about numbers. It’s about making people feel that they are a valued member of the team and that you recognize the importance of having different perspectives.”

By Devon L. Suits and Joseph Lacdan, Army News Service

39 Responses to “US Army’s Project Inclusion to Cut Board Photos in Holistic Effort to Promote Diversity”

  1. Mark Gale says:

    Stupid is as stupid does… McConville is criminally ignorant.

  2. Ed says:

    Is this FUCKING for real???

    Here we are CHINA, take us NOW!!

    Fucking pathetic!

  3. Jon C says:

    Was there a problem? Can someone show evidence where promotion rates amongst soldiers whose packets are otherwise equal are lower across racial lines?

    • Marcus says:

      Stop, your’e being logical and evidenced based.

      Our service is the most diverse, best integrated institution we have. Way ahead of civilian land. Not once did I experience a racial incident or hear of one. Nobody even mentioned race- it wasn’t even a factor or consideration. It was all about the person next to you. Period.

      This is just more BS meant to divide us, not bring us together and create a cohesive American force.

      • SSD says:

        It means there are no more photos. They were an absolute waste of time. Soldiers bitched about them and naturally are bitching because they are being done away with. Name, SSN, Race, Sex and Pronouns will remain visible to the board. If a board member is going to discriminate, they’ll still be able to.

        • Yawnz says:

          Way to be disingenuous. Soldiers aren’t bitching “because they are being done away with”, they’re bitching because the reasoning is wholly unsubstantiated.

        • SSD says:

          Update:

          “Effective 1 August 2020, the requirement for officer, warrant officer and enlisted selection boards to include the DA Photo as part of the board file is suspended. Data that identifies a Soldier’s race, ethnicity, and gender on the Officer Record Brief and the Enlisted Record Brief will be redacted as a part of the board file. These changes will help ensure that selection boards are as fair and impartial as possible.” – Secretary of the U.S. Army Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff, Army, Gen. James McConville.

          Names and Pronouns will still be in documents so a board member will still have clues as to the race and sex of the candidate.

          My point stands. Joe is bitching because of change that benefits him.

          • Nattydreadbushdoc says:

            Respectfully disagree. Military appearance and bearing matter, especially in leaders. Doubt me? Just look at Dutch Army, or think about the reaction you had when you see a BN of Rangers in formation. Why do we have so many regulations that define it, and mechanisms to enforce it, if appearance and bearing don’t matter?

            If there is discrimination in the process there are better ways to fix it. Example, any board member who does not recommend an individual must quantify their non recommendation with the relevant regulation that lead to their decision. Their reasoning becomes transparent and actionable.

            • T11 FUBAR says:

              nattydreadbushdoc-you mean it matters to you…operators perform the same way w/ a baseball cap on or a patrol cap

              • Nattydreadbushdoc says:

                Nope, it just matters. If it just mattered to me then every professional military in the world would not have standards for appearance & bearing.

                If you want to discuss what military appearance & bearing should look like that is another conversation.

                Exceptions are made for individuals who have been specially selected and trained when they have certain missions. Even in the units who are authorized relaxed grooming standards(by regulation) the professional soldiers in those units adapt to their current operational environment. Meaning they clean up before returning CONUS unless they have an organizational reason to do otherwise. It’s about the mission not the individual.

                “Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained Soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.“

  4. PNWTO says:

    I guess I don’t see the outrage?

    A bias was identified and concerned and now the opportunity for that bias is eliminated. Assuming the packet is complete and ethical, and that the member is in good standing with CoC and policy, what value does a photo really add?

    Board photos used to really be hard on guys with sleeve/hand/neck tattoos and the bias was pretty obvious.

    • TominVA says:

      I think the histrionics in the comments stem from the label “Inclusion,” which admittedly is a little nauseating. But you are right, the article is very clear. Looks like a problem was clearly identified, the Army is taking steps to fix it. Absolutely right to take a hard at the justice system as well.

      While some decisions in the near term (whatever that is) will be taken for appearances sake and hard to stomach, I’d say the long term goal of ensuring the Army promotes only the very best officers regardless of gender or rank will be served. How they ensure equal treatment for candidates with non-Anglo-Saxon names, I don’t know.

      Ultimately, this is a very practical step. This country is not getting any whiter. To build and sustain a winning force, we will need to recruit from the broadest possible selection of qualified people – people who believe they’ve got a real shot at a career regardless of race or gender.

      In the Marine Corps, the intent of the pics was really just about making sure the candidate is not (too) overweight.

    • Nattydreadbushdoc says:

      I think the outrage comes more from the timing of the release; it has the appearance of more political kowtowing to non issues. Especially since the purported findings do not jive with most of our experiences in the military.

      I learned a long time ago that you can’t trust a study until you dig into “Methods and Materials”. I can make a study say anything I want it to. Just saying, “we did a study“ means squat until it has been replicated and peer reviewed.

      Couldn’t care less about the photos; I’m tired of PC/Cancel Culture and I hope it isn’t at play here.

    • Yawnz says:

      No, a bias was hypothesized. It was only “identified” in some loser’s wet dream.

  5. iggy says:

    its misconstrued. these days the military is about the only large org that hasnt the bulk race politicking found elsewhere. rather than a bunch of knee jerk pseudo reactions like this theyd be better standing up as existing examples of how things can work without all the virtue posturing and fad concern thats hijacked the matter.

    the military’s problems are elsewhere and menial token gestures like this only divert from them.

  6. 9Baller says:

    Two big problems with this. First, DA photos are one gate to keep the fat from being promoted. Second, there is a guarantee that there a professional picture on record after the first DA photo in the event he’s killed in action.

    Are DA photos annoying? Sure, but more of my time was wasted in a single afternoon at every NCOES school than the sum of time I spent getting pictures.

  7. rob371 says:

    Well there goes 75% or VIOSs business.

  8. Jason says:

    Since the only point of the picture is to discrimanate what the board member thinks a Soldier should look like it seems like this is a no duh realization.

  9. Ryan Baker says:

    So not a apples to apples comparison but …..when I was stationed (stuck is more like it…) at 8th and I in DC I found out that the Presidents Own (Band) does blind auditions for all potential new joins, these are all Masters and Doctorate level musicians, attempting to join the band as a instant E6, and have to maintain HT and WT standards once accepted. However, the initial audition for any position is conducted with the curtains on the stage drawn closed so that the only way that the candidate can be judged is by the quality of their performance. It was found prior to this being implemented that appearance and looks figured greatly into the selection of new band members, almost more so that actual musical ability.

    I too do not see a problem with this new standard for the Army, they didn’t say you are allowed to be out of standards or that they changed them…. They just are going to go by the record book and not appearances, which in many cases can be deceiving… but I have no dog in this fight, I will say that if the USMC did away with the picture requirement I would have no issue with it as well.

  10. Amer-Rican says:

    Neither Race nor Ethnicity should ever factor into it… But females should be limited to MOS’ like doctors, nurses and clerks, because the role of women in any society is propagation of the species, and we need American women to have more babies so we can halt our demographic decline (relying on immigration is just making the demographic emergency worse). Republican females of all Races and Ethnicities need to have 4-5 kids each so we can save our Republic.

    Also, now that we know democrats are the internal threat the founding fathers foresaw, we need to prevent any more democrats from getting promotions in the military. We’re at war, and we must save America from the left.

    • TominVA says:

      Democrat troll?

    • Terry Baldwin says:

      Amer-Rican,

      Ah, another bold plan to build to build a version of the Master Race. Interesting, I have not heard that one for awhile. I suppose I don’t hang out on sites where those sorts of ideas are discussed earnestly.

      Of course you will have to have mandatory programs to indoctrinate those children in “right thinking.” Can’t have any free thinkers screw up the plan. The children will, of course, be trained to turn in their parents or anyone who might whisper a dissenting opinion to the thought police.

      Of course I am being sarcastic. You probably were being sarcastic too. Surely, you do not believe that we need to “save” our Republic by destroying the very principles of individual liberty – to include freedom of thought – that the Republic is built upon? Political and social purity tests give me a rash.

      TLB

  11. El Terryble says:

    “”To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize” – Voltaire

    America is undergoing a Marxist Revolution as we speak, SecDef Esper and CJCS GEN Milley pretty much sided with the Marxists against the Constitution, and the Army is more concerned that enough specially classed oppressed people’s groups are promoted to steer this sinking ship. Get ready, repent, and stock up on food, ammunition, weapons, and a reliable water supply.

  12. El Terryble says:

    The words “diversity” and “inclusion” say it all. The Army is applying a quota system to make up for “systemic racism”. Diversity of opinion be damned, we have a country to destroy and a Marxist dictatorship to establish. Esper and Milley should be put up against a wall and shot.

  13. El Terryble says:

    What we, as American’s, are experiencing at this moment in time has nothing to do with race or police brutality. There is no such thing as “White privilege” or “systemic racism” in the United States of America. These are lies being perpetrated so as to impose a Marxist dictatorship on the American way of life. The American Left at the urging and with the aid of the Democrat Party is coming for you, your family, and your Country.

    What we are witnessing is the culmination of Antonio Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions”; the takeover and annihilation of one of the last vestiges of American exceptionalism – the US military, specifically the Army. It started a hundred years ago under Woodrow Wilson, when the American Left started infiltrating and taking over the State Department, the law schools, academia, then the government bureaucracy, the courts, churches, the entire education system, corporate boards, and now the US military.

    Putting women in combat was never about equality; it was about hobbling the US military. Getting rid of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was never about fairness, it was about putting loyal Democrat apparatchiks in positions of authority. The same way government recognition of two men or two women being able to marry one another was never about “love”, it was about eroding the Constitution, America’s Judeo-Christian traditions, and moving the Overton window for further societal and moral decay so as to make the United States of America ripe for an all out Marxist takeover in conjunction with the Democrats’ Marxist-Progressive, Third World, and Islamic allies.

    This is organized genocide against America, the American People, our system of natural rights, and our Republic.

    The race riots, iconoclasm, and purge of figures such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Wayne, and U.S. Grant, are just a new front on the war against our Republic begun under Obama and perpetuated by the FBI and FISA courts to erase the results of the 2016 election.

    This was preplanned, funded, and abetted by billionaire donors, like George Soros, the media, tech giants, and the Democrat Party. Donations to Black Lives Matter are directed through a Democrat fundraising vehicle called “Act Blue”. This was all preplanned and timed for the November election right after the exaggerated COVID-19 lockdowns, just as the the KGB would have taught, to cause maximum damage on the fabric of our society. How many people have heard that George Floyd was a career criminal that served time for pistol whipping an 80 year-old women and pointing a gun at a pregnant woman’s stomach before he robbed them? Kind of hard to rationalize burning down America and turning it into a totalitarian Marxist dictatorship that is a mixture of Maoist China, Venezuela, Robespierre’s France, and 21st Century South Africa, on behalf of scum like that.

    Our leadership has sided with the Enemy, see SecDef Esper, CJCS GEN Milley, CNO Adm. Gilday, and retired general and former SecDef, James Mattis. Take note and be prepared for the next stage of the assault.

    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/07/nihilism-and-attacks-monuments-john-radzilowski/

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/06/07/night-of-the-generals/

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/06/06/general-mattis-has-betrayed-the-marines-and-america/

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/06/22/americas-castrated-generals-and-cuckolded-experts/

    https://thefederalist.com/2020/06/23/everywhere-statues-are-torn-down-by-the-mob-history-promises-people-are-next/

  14. TominVA says:

    “nothing to do with race or police brutality. There is no such thing as “White privilege” or “systemic racism” in the United States of America.”

    I’m assuming you were a Marine. Do you think the black Marines you served with would agree?

    Does your wife know you believe all this? Do your kids? Your co-workers?

    • SSD says:

      I’m curious how both of you define the term “systemic racism.”

      • TominVA says:

        Beats me. ET says there is no such thing, so he must have some idea to be so confident it doesn’t exist.

        Pulled this gem from Wikipedia: “Institutional [systemic] racism is where race causes a different level of access to the goods, services, and opportunities of society.” I’ll buy that. Now, what does systemic racism as opposed to individual racism look like in the day-to-day? No idea. But racism is real. Anti-semitism too. I’ve witnessed them both, and I’ll bet you have too. Given this country’s history, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that systemic racism is real – I have no personal need to challenge the concept, but ET sure seems to.

        Then there’s the whole Marxist conspiracy thing. Wow.

        • SSD says:

          Conversely, you believe it exists. So tell us what you think it is, not some internet definition. Systemic racism is…

          • TominVA says:

            “Us?” Who is “us?”

            The internet definition I dug up could use some tweaking. How about:
            “consideration of race results in denial of access to or reduced quality of goods, services and opportunities within a society.”

            From the little I’ve read, the debate on its proper definition and whether it even exists continues. In the U.S., someone who actually studies this stuff could probably pretty easily demonstrate how the lingering impacts of Jim Crow qualifies. You could probably make a case for gerrymandering too.

      • El Terryble says:

        My best guess at the definition of systemic racism is that America’s governmental, societal, legal, and economic systems are designed and operate in order to oppress “people of color” to the benefit of the white majority. Which is total BS. The only government sanctioned racism in the United States in the last 50 years has been perpetrated against White people with quotas, affirmative action, wealth redistribution, and attacks on White identity, the American heritage, the Judeo-Christian ideals the Country was founded on, Western Civilization, and basic reality , such as with ideas that a man with a mental illness who thinks he is a woman is considered to be a woman by deranged fools, or for the reason of destroying America.

        The ugly truth, and this speaks to what I said above, is that “race”, White, Black, or other, has replaced class, like the proletariat and bourgeoise, as the terms for Oppressed verse Oppressor, used by the Marxists to frame their revolutionary struggle against Capitalism. If you are “White”, you are guilty by virtue of engaging in “oppression” of Black people, or Mexicans, Indians, etc; where if you are Black, homosexual, female, Mexican, Native American, or Muslim, you are never guilty, i.e. responsible for your actions, because you are “Oppressed”, just like how the Oppressed workers of the world must overthrow their chains in a violent class struggle against their “Oppressors”, so must the Oppressed destroy America and anyone or anything that stands in the way of that objective.

      • Jeb says:

        Systemic (institutional) racism is as much a oxymoron as democracy. Neither truly exist. What we do have in this country is classism. Because certain demography falls under poverty in mass propensity, they generally will never have a voice. That is not to say other ethnic/racial demography don’t fall under poverty.

        • El Terryble says:

          Uhh, no. For one democracy did exist in Ancient Greece, and like James Madison said, “They are as short in their lives as they are as violent in their deaths.” Second, Blacks were well on their way to negating disparities in average household income until LBJ and the Great Society came along and destroyed the two parent household for Black America. The single greatest contributor for the success of a child is whether he grows up in a household with two parents that are his biological mother and father. It’s hard to compete when 80-90% of Black children are born to single mothers.

          Heather Mac Donald has done excellent work on this and show’s race, gender, class disparities to be the lie it is.

          https://www.amazon.com/Diversity-Delusion-Pandering-University-Undermine/dp/1250200911

          • Jeb says:

            El Terry, you kind of proved my point. The true exception in this country anymore, the minority…are ultimately those that know you get what you work for, the cream rises to the top and it happens regardless of what color you are or where you come from. Those, are the minority. Yet they’re also generally the more successful too. Coincidence?

    • El Terryble says:

      TomVA, Seeing as how America is so racist, and in order to reconcile with the sins of the past, everything that has been tainted by racism must be torn down, killed, or burnt to the ground, the Declaration of Independence and The US Constitution are no longer in effect, because they were written and ratified in part by slave owners and slave states. Therefore Tom, there’s no more Bill of Rights. No 1st Amendment, Due Process, or Trial by Jury. So Tom, you’re going to need to provide your local “citizen counsel” with your address, phone number and tax records. So that the “Counsel”, being comprised of myself and several others here at SSD can protect you. You don’t want to benefit from the legacy of systemic racism now, do you? We have your best interest in mind. You don’t need freedom. Just tell us where you live and give us a few answers to some other questions, and we’ll make sure you are taken care off, without resorting to the racist foundations of the past.

  15. El Terryble says:

    Is the NFL and NBA systemically racist because because 80-90% of their players are Black? By the Left’s definition, no, because Blacks are oppressed they can’t be racist, but by normal people that use common sense and rational thought, if disparities between Blacks, Whites, and Asians are solely a result of “racism” then, yes the NFL and NBA are racist. But, if they are meritocracies, then this just proves the Left’s arguments are BS, and America needs to get back to being a pure meritocracy without welfare and Affirmative Action, where equality under the law is the only enforced equality. And before you saw, “Well Blacks are unfairly incarcerated at a higher level then Whites.” Yes, because Blacks commit more crimes than their population percentage. All you have to do is listen to pretty much any rap album to know that there is a subculture in the Black community that glorifies criminality, gangs, drugs, and violence.

    Heather Mac Donald has done exceptional work highlighting the lie that is the racial and gender preferences. https://www.amazon.com/Diversity-Delusion-Pandering-University-Undermine/dp/1250200911

  16. El Terryble says:

    This article pretty much sums it up that Leftists suffer from a psychological disorder, like anorexia, gender dysphoria, or paranoia. Everything they push is a lie. Nothing new is under the sun, whether that something “new” was from Robespierre, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Ayotollah Khomanei, Barack Hussein Obama, Osama bin Laden, or Al Baghdadi, even the Devil himself, “Though be like God”. Nothing new is under the sun.
    https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/07/believer-jamie-glazov/

  17. TominVA says:

    El Terryble,

    Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Work and family and all that. This turned out to be a long one. In reviewing all this, I see I pose some questions for you. I don’t expect you to answer any of them, but I hope you’ll at least give them a day in your court.

    Regarding your dire predictions for the future, the reds have been on the march in this country for over a hundred years, along with assorted pinkos, fellow travelers, and what the heck, let’s throw in some liberal democrats. What do they have to show for it? Certainly not a dictatorship, or anything close to it. At best, they can point to some welfare programs and the existence of organized labor, which, though admittedly quite a racket at times, has done more for workplace safety in this country than any other organization. Yes, the libbies did try for and keep trying for free healthcare for all, including dark-skinned people and everyone’s dirt-bag brother-in-law. Lousy commies. I’m not worried about the reds and neither should you be.

    You use two terms which deserve distinction: Judeo-Christian “traditions” and Judeo-Christian “ideals”. They are not the same. Regarding traditions, long-established customs and beliefs, there is much very good and much very bad going down the centuries which no one really disputes and so I don’t think I need to enumerate. As for ideals, which ones? Certainly not those contained in the New Testament, which is highly inclusive of all peoples, very arguably pacifistic, at least at a personal level, and borderline communistic (see the book of Acts) or at least takes an extremely dim view of private property and the accumulation of even modest wealth (see the gospels, or just read the Sermon on the Mount – Matt 5-7).

    As for Heather MacDonald’s book, I haven’t read it and likely won’t. I really don’t read polemics from either end of the political spectrum or even the middle. Actually, I’m pretty sure I never have. This might be unfair to some, but I tend to lump them all in the same pile and don’t see them as honest efforts to seek out the truth of an issue. I did find a piece in the LA Review of books which gave her the courtesy of serious consideration and rebuttal. You can find it here: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/why-are-conservatives-so-afraid-of-higher-education/

    Now, imagine your ancestors were kidnapped, sold and brought to this country and endured brutal enslavement. Imagine this country established a form of government that categorized them as partial citizens with no rights whatsoever and to the substantial political and economic advantage of those who enslaved them. Imagine the families of your ancestors being routinely ripped apart and sold like cattle, never to see each other again. Imagine a brutal and costly war was fought resulting in the end of that slavery, and yet, in its place laws were passed denying your ancestors access to the goods, services, and opportunities widely available to the families and descendants of those who enslaved them. Imagine the churches and schools of your ancestors being burned. Imagine your ancestors enduring threats of violence and outright murder to keep them from voting. Imagine a culture of such hatred and presumption of guilt that your ancestors were often dragged from their homes or even jails, denied any due process, beaten, burned, sometimes even skinned alive and then lynched. Image people taking photographs of these events and selling them as postcards. Imagine people even buying and sending these postcards. Imagine thousands of men who approved of such things donning robes and hoods and marching the streets of our nation’s capital. Imagine a church of your ancestors being blown up and the children inside killed in the explosion. Imagine a son of your ancestors, a boy, falsely accused of attacking a woman, beaten and murdered and those responsible acquitted. Imagine the men who murdered him later freely admitting their guilt. Imagine the woman who accused him, decades later, admitting she lied. Imagine a movement arose, its goal to put an end to these injustices and establish equal treatment for all citizens, and the leading voice of that movement being assassinated. Imagine you know all of this, it’s now the 21st century, and in spite of everything, you and everyone you know are born into poverty, and that crime seems the only reasonable way to earn any kind of living. Imagine jail and prison to be a common occurrence for you, your friends and your family. Now imagine a group of men – it’s mostly men – of the same color as those who enslaved, oppressed, and routinely imprisoned and murdered your ancestors. Imagine these men engaging in business dealings that result in the global financial system being driven to the edge of destruction with millions of people of all colors and creeds losing their jobs, their savings, and their homes. Imagine none of those men responsible are brought to justice. Imagine a young man of your color going for a run and being gunned down, his killers only being arrested after a massive public outcry. Imagine even after all this history, even now, a man of your color is killed in police custody, after being cuffed and restrained, by the use of a restraint technique that had been removed from law enforcement training curricula for years due to the obvious risks.

    Imagining all this, would you be willing to even consider the possibility that you might be a little angry?

    I think we all know I’ve barely scratched the surface of our country’s history of racism here.

    Whatever views you continue to hold, I strongly encourage you to shed the woe is me, white male fragility pity party. Are you really so afraid? Do you really feel so persecuted? Why? What’s wrong? What happened to you? How have you suffered or been held back?

    Perhaps affirmative action and other programs to give people of color a leg up could have been done better, but I have no reason to believe such efforts were anything other than well intended. Moreover, they were probably the only reasonable way forward given the likely pervasive attitude that black people are given everything and that there is no such thing as systemic racism. I have flaws enough. I will not add to them by imagining that I am or ever have been threatened by such efforts. Due the country of my birth, its history, and the color of my skin, I know I have had every advantage and opportunity one can reasonably expect out of life. At no point did the color of my skin or the color of someone else’s play a role in holding me back from the best that life and my country have to offer. Whenever life has failed to deliver on my dreams, I have never imagined there was anyone to blame save the man in the mirror.

    Ok, I think this horse is good and dead for now. Thanks for reading. Until next time.

    SSD, I’d appreciate you considering posting and leaving this up. Thanks!

  18. Papa6 says:

    Back on topic; this is the best thing the army has done in a long time. Getting rid of the picture is a great start in making the army more egalitarian.

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