Paul R. Lehman, Report indicates military ignored ethnic bigotry against African Americans

June 17, 2017 at 4:06 am | Posted in African American, American Bigotry, American Racism, Bigotry in America, black inferiority, blacks, criminal activity, discrimination, equality, Ethnicity in America, European Americans, fairness, justice, justice system, Prejudice, race, racism, skin color | Leave a comment
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Sometimes we go along thinking that something is going just fine and needs little or no attention, but then discover that we were wrong in our thinking and everything is not going as we thought. A case in point is a news report that was released June 14, 2017, which stated that “Black troops are far more likely than their white comrades to face court-martial or other forms of military punishment.” Once we collect our thoughts, we discover that this news is surprising, but not alarming because we know the history of American ethnic relations and how it manifest its biases in a variety of ways. The data for this report was collected and analyzed by the group, Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy organization for the victims of sexual assault and military justice. The data for this report was acquired from the Pentagon and covers the years 2006 to 2015.

According to the article in USA TODAY, by Tom Vanden Brook, we learn that “Over the past decade, racial disparities have persisted in the criminal justice system without indications of improvement.” The article continued by noting that “These disparities are particularly striking for black service members, who face military justice or disciplinary action at much higher rates than white service members in every service branch. In fact, the size of the disparity between white and black service members’ military justices involvement has remained consistent over the years, and, in the case of the Air Force and Marine Corps has increased.” The point is that little attention has been paid in the last decade or more to the area of ethnic discrimination in the military, so no trouble flags have been raised in that regard.

The report goes further to show the histories of ethnic discrimination in each branch of the military and points out the seriousness of the problem in two branches in particular: “The researchers found that the Marine Corps had some of the most significant issues with race, particularly in instances where the harshest penalties are possible. In an average year, black Marines were 2.6 times more likely than whites to receive a guilty finding at a general court-martial judicial proceeding for more serious offenses.” In addition, the report found that “…black airmen were 71% more likely than whites in the Air Force to face court-martial or non-judicial punishment, discipline meted out for less serious offenses.” One would think with the percentages of offences so high that some alarm would have been sounded by someone keeping the data.

While the instances of discrimination were very high in both the Marine Corps and the Air Force, the report stated that “Findings for the other services, the Army and Navy, show disparities as well. Black soldiers were 61% more likely to face court-martial than whites in the Army; and black sailors were 40% more likely than white in the Navy to be court marshaled. That percentage is 32% for black Marines.” These percentages from each military branch of the service underscore the problems of ethnic bias experienced by African Americans.

The fact that discrimination of African Americans in the military service represented a problem was voiced by Don Christensen, president of the group and a former top prosecutor for the Air Force. He said in an interview that the “From the findings of the study, race appears like it plays a big role, which is disheartening.” He continued by stating that “It seems to have a sizable role in determining if somebody’s going to go to court or receive non-judicial punishment. I’m really not sure what exactly explains it, and that is really troubling.” He also  noted that “ The military has known about these numbers for decades and has done nothing about it.” His comments suggest that no one in the military thought these numbers constituted a problem, so no action was necessary.

Since each branch of the military has it own unique society with rules and regulations governing it inhabitants, most civilians are not privy to what transpires in the military on a daily basis. Also, military communities are controlled environments under the rules and regulations for each respective branch. Because these communities are not usually part of the public community, the public has little chance to learn about many of the activities that take place in military life. For that reason, ethnic discrimination that occurs in the military should be the concern of each and every member of the military family. Unfortunately, according to Christiansen, “the lack of diversity in the military may play a role in unequal justice for black troops. In 2016, about 78% of military officers were white, and 8% were black.” That fact alone underscores a cause of the ethnic bias problem experienced by African Americans.

The primary cause of the problem of ethnic bigotry in the military is the acceptance of the false concept of race, especially, the acceptance of the notion of a black and white race. In order to start the process of ridding the military of ethnic bigotry, the concept of race must be debunked and replaced with the concept of one family of mankind, which, in fact, we are. The social conditioning received by Americans that underscore power, privilege, and superiority to the European Americans must be shown to be false and replaced. For example, the term race should be removed from all government forms and replaced with ethnicity or ethnic group. Also, black should be removed and replaced with African American or person of color, and white and Caucasian replaced with European American or whatever ethnic identity is appropriate. To continue using the language that separates rather than unites people is part of the problem.

In the military ethnic biases can occur in three places where the biased individual is protected from repercussions: positions, promotions, and punishment. The judgment of individuals in supervisory roles can and does play a role in the extent of bigotry in the military. The ethnic biases that were part of the individual’s character prior to entering the military still manifest itself in situations where a biased judgment is not readily detected and can be easily disguised in the rules and regulations. The problem of ethnic bigotry must be addressed at the beginning of military service as well as the repercussion for practicing it. This awareness must be a part of everyday life.

Christensen noted that “The study shows that the military isn’t immune from the same racial issues that affect civilian police and courts.” Although that might be the case for now, the military is in a position to effect a great change. Since the military is a controlled society, changes can be made to correct this problem, and those changes can serve as a model for the civilian society. First, however, the military must recognize that a problem exists before it can be addressed. Now they know!


Paul R. Lehman, Discharged Airman questioned Obama’s citizenship

August 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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The Associated Press
ran a story (8-18-11) about an Air Force
Staff Sgt. Daryn Moran, who refused to accept a duty assignment in Germany. His
reason for the refusal was that “he doubts
President Barak Obama’s citizenship
. The Air Force said it is discharging
Moran. The article referred to Moran as a hero to the birthers and added that “Although the 41-year-old Nebraska man
refused to report to duty and had called for Obama’s arrest in statements on
websites, several other things contributed to his discharge, including his opposition
to allowing gays to serve openly in
the military.” While a discharge of
Moran would be in order, the military should consider other forms of action in
order to protect itself from others who might want to follow Moran’s example.

The very first course of action the military should take
against Moran is a complete psychiatric examination. One has to question the
mental stability of a 41-year-old Staff Sgt. Who after all his time in the Air
Force questions the citizenship of his Commander-in-Chief. What the important
concern here is not the doubt of the President’s citizenship, but the fact that
Moran rejects the competency of all the people who voted for the President as
well as the people who vetted all the presidential candidates. He even
challenges the competency of the Supreme
in swearing in Obama as President.

So, if all the people responsible for electing President Obama and having him assume
that role are wrong or mistaken about his qualifications as a citizen of the United States, then who is right?
Evidently, Moran has been greatly influenced by the birthers. That influence
came in spite of the fact that “Obama released a copy of his detailed birth certificate from Hawaii in April
in an attempt to quell the questions about whether he was born outside the
U.S.” None-the-less, Moran did not accept this information and like many of the
birthers, considered it fake. So, under these circumstances, when someone
rejects the actions of people who are in responsible positions to provide
accurate information, the rational mental condition of the person doing the
rejecting must come into question.

The next action the military should take is a Court- martial, because this member of
the Air Force disobeyed a direct order. If the court determines that an offense
was committed, then Moran should be made to pay for his offense. An important
part of the military is the discipline that is required to maintain maximum
effectiveness. If a break down occurs in the chain of command, then the
effectiveness is destroyed. If Staff Sgt. Moran is allowed to refuse the orders
of his commander-in-chief, what is there to prevent other military personnel
from doing the same thing? What is interesting about Moran’s action is the fact
that he bypassed the order of command between himself and the President to offer his reasons for disobeying his orders. His
court-martial hearing should include questions about why he directed his focus
on the President and why did he not challenge the past presidents he served

As a relatively high ranking member of the enlisted
military, part of Moran’s responsibility is to serve as an example for those
under him.  If the example he serves
shows disrespect to the commander-in-chief, then his example is destructive and
detrimental to the military service. When members of the military swear to
protect and defend the country, they do not get to add to that pledge “only if
they personally find the commander-in-chief to be acceptable to them.”In
hearing his case, the court should take into consideration the collateral
effect Moran’s action might have on the other troops.

The final action the Air Force should take in addition to
the discharge is to make it a dishonorable discharge. For most military
personnel, questioning the orders of a commander is extraordinary. One might
understand refusing to join the military as a conscientious objector, but that
happens at the beginning of military service. What would motivate someone who
has risen to the rank of Staff Sgt. to question the status of the President?
Most people in or out of the military would look upon this action as
suspicious. Some might even go so for as to think that Moran is using this
excuse as a ploy to leave the Air Force. We are told that the birthers view
Moran as a hero because “Moran, who
has served nine years in the Air Force, drew the attention of the birther movement when he shared his
views on Obama’s citizenship on websites of groups that believe Obama is not
eligible to serve as president or commander-in-chief.”

If the military would allow all its personnel to follow in
the footsteps of Moran one wonders what kind of military it would be. One of
the by products of questioning the citizenship of Obama is not having to say
that the reason for refusing his orders from the President is because he is
African American. If the reason is not about his ethnicity, then it is about
questioning the creditability of the state of Hawaii. Either way, Moran’s
mental state has to be taken into consideration because his actions do a
disservice to the military and to all those who follow the rules of military
command. The military, like society, has established rules of conduct that help
to promote order, peace, and justice. When anyone in society decides to break
any of its rules, he or she must understand that consequences are also in place
to deal with the rule breakers. These consequences are created and enforced in
order to maintain order and prevent chaos.

The Air Force or any branch of the military cannot prevent
its personnel from having doubts or any thoughts whatsoever, but each person
takes an oath of service. Unless Staff Sgt. Moran has forgotten, he took an
oath that says:

“I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or
affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States
against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and
allegiance to the same; and that I will
obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the
officers appointed over me
, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So
help me God.

The bold print was added for emphasis and to underscore the
responsibility that Moran accepted when he joined the Air Force. His service is
to his country regardless of who represents it. So, since he can no longer
adhere to that pledge, then America is better served without him in uniform.

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