Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr-9lt0XJQw

This 40-second video is a man explaining how people who don't think that gay people should be allowed in the armed forces, can actually view it as a positive thing. He says that if conservative people do not like the idea of gay people in the military that they should send them to Iraq so that they can die. I think this is the worst reason to allow gay people in the military. The video says that this way everybody wins meaning both sides of the argument. But I would disagree with this argument because I don't think that the conservative view on this is right.

Sending people to war with the intent of them dying is horrible and wrong. If people really have this opinion they should re-examine their priorities and maybe having gays not be allowed in the armed forces would be a better option then sending them off to their death. Homophobia is a overshadowed issue in our society and should be addressed strongly and in the similar ways that racism has in our country. But I think because homophobia is so strongly rooted in religion it is difficult for our country to address these issues. To address the issues of racism in our county (to some degree) we had the civil rights movement in order to defy the higher powers that said people of color were lesser than white people. In some ways I believe there needs to be a similar movement to address homosexual rights. This would be a positive step forward in the equality of gay, lesbian, and bisexual rights and perhaps would change the opinion of conservative people who believe gay people should be sent to war simply so they can die.


Years ago, after building a naval base in the Philippines, the U.S. Navy began recruiting local Filipinos. At the time they weren’t eligible to receive security clearances, which meant they were only qualified to work in Supply jobs, as cooks, barbers, pretty much, the low end stuff. Over time a lot of Filipinos settled on west coast with their families which increased the enlistment numbers for the Navy. To crew members, they are known as “mafia,” in part because they’re almost like one big family. They look out for each other in all sorts of ways, and that’s great.

In the Supply section of the Navy, Filipinos are in charge of many different things such as hiring for certain positions, getting supplies out to ships. For example, if we need 100 pairs of boots for the ship and weren’t really tight with the “mafia” or were not a part of it, we couldn’t get the boots in a timely fashion, or even at all. Although if we were in the “mafia,” all it would take is a quick call and we’ve got everything we need, and hen some. On base there is a Commissary where sailors can shop for just about anything they need. Every once in awhile there are large sales at the Commissary, which draws larger business than usual. For the most part, Filipinos are in charge of the Commissary and are able to open up the back door to their friends and family. That’s not a major issue because most people are looking for a hook up of some kind, and to be able to shop for what you need before the store officially opens, when there’s a great stock of items to choose from is always nice.

Supply is made up of mostly minorities. In the Supply section of the Navy you’ll find your most menial jobs. For instance, Ship service men, wash and press laundry, cut hair, and attend to the vending machines. Every so often sailors are up for reenlistment. Since there are so many people in Supply and it doesn’t cost as much to train them, these sailors usually receive little to nothing for reenlistment bonuses. My brother said he has only received one bonus in his 13 years and that was for $3,000.reinlistment. On the contrary, in Operations (combat systems, weapon systems, engineering, air traffic control), which is mostly white; they receive $60,000 for reenlistment bonuses. The navy does spend somewhere around $200,000 to train each sailor in Operations, so it’s cheaper to give them a nice bonus to keep them around than to go ahead and train a new person for the job.

#6 Time Magazine Article from 1972

As I read through this Time article from Nov. 1972, I started to question the pros and the cons of equality in the military/Navy. I have mixed feelings about the armed forces of America. On one hand they provide jobs for people so that individuals can take care of their families and retire at a young age, the military provides opportunities to travel all over the world and meet folks of all types of backgrounds. Obviously the armed forces protect us from our “enemies.” In order to better understand our enemies we should look at our actions, and how what we’ve done, affected others. On the other hand, the military forces are trained and ordered to kill others. Many times, those so-called “others” are people of color, various hues/shades of brown. Does anyone really know why we are at war? If it is a personal beef between our president and theirs, it should be dealt with in the front yard through fist fight or even a tea and crumpet session.

This article highlighted Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt and his attempt to change certain aspects of the United States Navy. Not much is actually different today, some 36 years later, but he set out to revamp some of the practices. “Charging "calculated racism," 120 black members of the crew—joined by twelve whites—staged a sitdown at sea.” This sitdown came after repeated requests to inform Captain J.D. Ward, of the Kitty Hawk, what was going on with the crew members on the ship. Captain Ward refused all requests which trickled down into a violent out break.

Radarman Third Class Lonnie Brown, talked about the menial jobs that the black seamen were continuously relegated to as well as the unequal punishment for equal offenses. The article also spoke on the grading system that is used to track each sailor’s quality of work, which was also scored unequally. Kind of sounds like the way in which the Navy is ran reflects the rest of society, second class citizens in a first class world.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Navy Seals #3

Is There Racism in the Navy Seals?


I came across a forum on Navyseals.com which was a stage for people debating whether or not there is racism in the Navy Seals. I was very surprised to find such discussion on this particular site, simply due to the fact it is a branch from the military arm of the government. On one hand I feel great respect for the people who, in theory, are risking their lives to save my “freedom.” I use the word, “freedom,” in the sense, freedom of speech, freedom of democracy, the same freedom that our country has preached since its inception in the 1770’s. Has this country’s ruling class equally distributed the same freedom our soldiers have been dying for since the Revolutionary War which freed us from the Red Coats’ oppressive ways? No. Is there a difference between America’s armed forces inhabiting every crevice of this world, and the same British wearing red coats that we fought in order to obtain our “freedom?” I digress, back to the Seals.

Soldiers come from the block, the neighborhoods, schools, churches, etc. We have images of people acting in great compassionate love towards others, while at the same time we have images of people exhibiting dark murderous hate. Our soldiers are picked from the general population, the same population who produces these acts of love or acts of hate. Is there racism in the Navy Seals? Let me ponder as my mind wonders…Racism is rooted in our society, classism too. Both are reinforced by the government which controls the armed forces in order to force its will on “the enemy.” The enemy is international, and domestic. While the government enforces its rules the people of the country buy into what they feel is right, some imitate the gov’t while others oppose its teachings. When you take people from society and place them in a team/family such as the Navy Seals, you never know what’s going to happen.

According to Didley (1/21/08 3:35pm,) “…Each man on a SEAL team needs to be able to depend on the other. There really is no room for racism. It could cost you your life. If you're not there for someone because of their race or whatever, you can't expect them to be there for you either. If you're racist, you shouldn't be in the teams.” That statement is very important in highlighting the type of bonds the Seals must develop with one another in order to survive and carry out orders from the top.

Jclay25 (1/31/08) 1:03am), “There's no way. SEALS are too smart for that and have too much character. It's like a brotherhood why would they hate somebody in their own small fraternity just cause he's black. I'm sure a few have slipped through the cracks but probly not enough to count on one hand.” I’m willing to guess there have been more than just a few bad apples who slipped through the cracks, we just don’t hear about it because the military handles its issues in house rather than in the public eye, most times anyway.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

10/19/08 #5



“Well, if you are gay we don’t take you. YOU ARE CONSIDERED UNQUALIFIED…”

This statement is from an interview that was held in 2007 and was the reaction of a military recruitment officer, via an email conversation, after being notified of Corey Andrew’s sexual orientation. According to this interview the military works on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” system and is more than willing to sign new soldiers to fill the spaces left by the bodies of dead soldiers that are being shipped back to the U.S. awaiting burial. It sounds like it is ok if you are gay or lesbian, just so long as you keep that to yourself and tell nobody about it, but if you were to “come out of the closest,” so to speak, then you are automatically unqualified to serve your country.

The email transcripts that are being used as the vocal point of this interview venture off into another form of inequality that plagues this country from the inside and out. Not only is Andrew’s sexual orientation in question but the fact that he is African-American became an issue for the military recruitment officer as well calling him something along the lines of un-american.

“…You go back to Africa and do your gay voodoo, limbo, wango, tango and…prance and run all over the place half naked there and practice your gay morals over there, that’s where you belong…

I’m reminded of a Malcolm X speech where he talks about how black people were essentially stolen from their homes and how, “…we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.” I find it ironic how centuries ago, Americans took part in the slave trade, they captured Africans and locked them in chains against their will in order to put them to work on the fields or in the homes. And in the days since slavery was abolished, those same Americans who worked so hard in bringing African people here would love to see those ex-slaves return to their original continent.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

10/05/08 #2

Specific reasons for any rise or decline in enlistment numbers of the armed forces are not clear to me. This blog is not going to solve any major mysteries; it’s merely my take or even my opinion about the things I see. According to:


African American enlistment numbers were around twenty percent in 2000 but have been on the decline and in 2005 it was around fifteen percent. Any number of reasons could be attributed to this decline and anything I say is just a speculation. Soldiers in the army are most of the time on the ground engaging in close physical battle with the “enemy.” It seems to me that the closer you are to the enemy, the chances of you dying rise. Based on the limited data from this article it doesn’t seem to be very attractive to people, in this case, African Americans. It certainly doesn’t interest me in anyway shape or form. The army has “depended on blacks to meet its recruiting goals and reenlistment targets.”

I don’t know the reason why we’re at war and I think that only a select few actually know the real truth behind this so-called war on terror. I have to be honest; I’m not a fan of getting shot or shooting somebody over a beef that I had no personal part in starting. As long as this war has been dragging on, it’s not surprising to hear that people are losing interest in joining the army. Although this same article has a graph showing an ever so slight rise in navy enlistment in 2004, which may or may not indicate a shift in popularity as far as the major branches of the armed forces are concerned. The sailors in the navy are generally lower on the list of active personnel to be deployed onto the front lines, and in a war such as this one which is on land; it might just be a safer way to earn a living while still serving this country.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

9/21/08 #1

The armed forces of the U.S. are technically in place to protect the citizens of this country and our Freedom. I have had the privilege to get to know a few people who either have served in the military at one time and/or are still active to this day. With that said, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at race and class within the military, specifically the navy. In general, America has had a difficult time living up to its motto, “The land of the Free,” you can look at anytime in our history and find evidence of severe cases of inequality in any area of focus (race, class, gender, and sexuality). It’s a wonder how a government can openly segregate its citizens just because of one’s skin tone yet at the same time expect those same citizens to join the armed forces to fight for a freedom that they may not be able to enjoy in the full sense of the word. Freedom. Granted, America is a relatively young nation and has made a lot of improvements on its past faults, yet, it most definitely has plenty room for more of the same, improvement.

I’m hoping to explore whether or not it is easier for an individual to climb the ranks of the military if they come from higher social class standings. The U.S. military is a paid profession, and since there is no longer a draft each branch of the military must recruit people to join. Sharply dressed recruiters stand out like sore thumbs in the halls of high schools and job fairs looking to grab any attention they can get from kids willing to sport American patriotism. Since enrollment in this paid profession is voluntary and in some cases involves killing other people or getting killed by those same “other people”, I wonder who the military is most interested in, the rich or the poor? Who's more disposable?