Racism has no place in the military

Darrell Todd Maurina

(March 1, 2019) — I'm well aware that many of those who point out incidents of racist organizations in the military have an agenda that's not supportive of the Armed Forces. Incidents such as the recently-caught Coast Guard lieutenant planning attacks while using his work computer are, fortunately, very rare. However, even if it's true that the number of servicemembers belonging to racist organizations is larger than reported because most servicemembers who are members of racist organizations hide their affiliations -- and that probably is true -- it is also true that even a small number of such people can create major problems.

A racist boss can create problems for minority employees, but they're free to leave. A racist NCO creates far more problems for minority servicemembers who don't have a choice about their duty station or the unit to which they are assigned.

It's a documented fact that some Hispanic gangs encourage younger members who don't yet have gang-connected tattoos and who don't have a criminal record to join the military for training on weapons and tactics. It's a documented fact that at least one Islamic terrorist joined the National Guard to get military training and then never reported again after completing basic and AIT. It stands to reason that white radical groups would use the same approach so their younger members can get training in weapons and tactics.

The modern American military is mostly colorblind. The only color that should count for an American soldier is Army green, not black, white, yellow, brown, or any other skin color.

Unfortunately, articles like this in The New York Times show that setting a standard doesn't mean everyone will meet that standard. Racist bigotry, and especially membership in bigoted racist groups, has no place in the military.

Here's the New York Times link. It's bad, it's sad, and it never should have happened.

As the article documents, there was a day -- fortunately, a day long gone -- that servicemembers in full uniform felt free to attend Klan rallies and be photographed alongside Klansmen wearing white hoods. It wasn't that many decades ago that soldiers were being told that membership in the Klan was no different from membership in any other private off-post group such as the Elks.

That was wrong then. It's wrong now. As a conservative, I have no problem saying some organizations are un-American. While private individuals have Constitutional rights of free speech and free association, a servicemember has no more business being a member of the Klan in the 2010s than he or she would have being a member of the Communist Party in the 1950s.

People who care more about race than about American citizenship are pretty poor examples of what an American is supposed to be.