The Absurdity Racist America – How was this acceptable?
Some people would say that racism is dead today in America. They would say that the civil rights movement won, that racism obviously isn’t a problem anymore and that the majority of the country realizes that being a racist is just unacceptable, right? Wrong. Not only are African-American’s incarcerated with stiffer penalties and more frequently than Caucasian individuals, but they remain to this date discriminated on all the way up to the highest levels of government — hell, even with an African-American POTUS, those who would serve and die for our country were dealt a massive insult by these United States
This is a copy of the Army Regulations that were published on the 22nd of October in 2014 in which the United States Army deemed it acceptable to refer to our African-American soldiers as “Negroes” and “Haitians” as an alternative to “Black” and “African-American”. Did I suddenly fall asleep and wake up in the 1950s? How did this racist policy become acceptable, exactly? Not only is it very racially charged to have a bunch of White soldiers referring to their African-American comrades as “Negroes” but it adds in the double whammy of allowing you to refer to all individuals of color as Haitians? Why is this a big deal? Because these men put their lives on the line for our country and our freedom and deserve better, they do not deserve to have racially charged language viewed as ‘acceptable’ regardless of who uses it. Slang not withstanding, there isn’t any way this is remotely acceptable. Yet, it was a thing. This was reviewed by the pentagon and actually published as policy.
Now, according to CNN, the Army is uncertain as to when this regulation was first added, but it continued to be publish until at least the 22nd of October 2014. How long did it take it for this regulation to be removed? It took until roughly November 7th, about 24 hours after the news report from CNN first broke revealing that it was Army Regulation. It took God only knows how long for somebody to realize that the Army was periodically releasing regulations that made it acceptable to refer to African-American servicemen as Negroes. That in and of itself is a problem — did nobody bother to read the document? Was it just vast ignorance? Or was it a quiet, complacent acceptance?
Frankly, the answer could go either way. It is likely that it is just good old laziness on behalf of the United States Army, who clearly failed to read through the regulation before setting it out for publishing — but it is equally likely that this wording lived on within the Army Regulations as a bleak reminder to the not-so-distant racist past of the United States Army. It was only just World War II, afterall, that African-American soldiers were discriminated upon and considered inferior and while to you or I that moment might seem like so, so long ago the but in reality it wasn’t that long ago. The truth is that the United States Marine Corp was full integrated by 1960, but racial tensions continued to exist.
We have made large strides of progress but we have also taken steps back, and it is documents like this that serve as a stark reminder to the history of this country and how willing we were to degrade men and women whom volunteered to serve our country. This regulation should have never been passed and worse than that this regulation should have been noticed sooner — it should have taken more than a news report pointing out the flaw for the Army to realize that this was a problem and that it needed to be fixed. I am a supporter of the United States Armed Forces, and in that regard I do not view our African-American soldiers any differently than I do the whites. They deserve the same respect and dignity afforded to all service members, and to have allowed this regulation to linger so long and so heavily upon the regulations of the United States Army is an insult to the countless African-American soldiers who willingly gave their lives for this country, a country which spent over half of its existence dedicated to hating and dehumanizing them.
You have to take pause and reflect upon the irony of it all — we had African-American soldiers serving in Europe, fighting against the Nazi regime, to ensure the freedom of other people that they themselves were not afforded in their own country. Segregation was still in full swing, and right up until just before the beginning of World War II, the American government was actively practicing Eugenics experiments. Likewise, we were conducting human experiments on African-American’s without even letting them know about it. Here were individuals willing to lay their lives on the line so that other people might know the freedom that their own country had deprived them of.
The question I get so often in my hometown is “why do we need a Black History month?” “Why isn’t there a White History month”? To which I frequently have to sit down and actually educate people as to the reality of the plight which African-American’s suffered at the hands of a racist government that did everything in its power to keep them down. It is a struggle I will never have to know, but it is a struggle which I recognize as a reality. The atrocities afflicted upon African-American’s by the United States for the majority of this nations existence are innumerable and have caused irrevocable damage. People refer to this as Post-Racial America, but I don’t see it. I see a country which is still struggling to push past its racist nature, and moments like this only remind me that I still have a part to play in this battle, that as a future educator it is my duty to strive diligently to broaden the minds of otherwise narrow minded fools.
To that end, I would like to apologize on behalf of America that we ever allowed such a travesty as this Army regulation to carry on as long as it did — no citizen of the United States, let alone one of our brave soldiers, should endure such an asinine insult. It may have remained in the regulations due to negligence, but it was not negligence that put it there in the first place and for that, I am sorry.