Are there downfalls for minorities in the military? especially the army

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by gridironkid, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    I have recently been accepted to Va.Tech as a transfer student cadet, and today had a discussion with my father about the military. I am a minority (Ethiopian) and my parents are completely fine with me being a commissioned officer its just that they think that not many minorities, make general officer or go pretty high in the ranks and hold top position in the army (ie. chief of staff or any command post) their reason was based on the fact that there is discrimination present in the armed services and job industry. Apparently there is a "pyramid" type system that begins to narrow for minorities or blacks in the military leaving Caucasians as the ones who ultimately stay on the top (basically minorities can only go so far in the military) Although I am aware of this, I was wondering what the reason behind this is--According to them, it wouldn't matter even if you are a minority that graduated from West Point

    (when I mean minority I mean one that isn't Hispanic or African-American)
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Please expound when you say minority. Are your parents actually under the impression that being Ethiopian matters in the coorate world from an Equal Employment Opportunity aspect? That is my perception from your last line. In that case, it would be better to say URM...under represented minority.

    I work for a national company and they don't give sheeaaats arse which country you come from for employment purposes. Minority is minority. Ethiopian, Bangladesh, Korean, etc. EEOC laws don't say the breakdown must be 15% from Ethiopia, 20% from Taiwan, 6% from Chin, 17% from India, 22% from So. America, 5% from Pakistan, 5% from Bangladesh, 5% from Afghanistan, and 5% from anywhere else,

    This idea that there is a breakdown pyramid is absolutely offensive. I am sure Colin Powell would agree.
    ~~~ Jeannie Flynn and Nicole Malachowski in the AF would also probably find it offensive, FWIW, Jeannie was then1st female fighter pilot. Nichole aka Fifi was the 1st female Thunderbird pilot.

    20 years ago the internet was dial up. 20 years ago we did not allow openly gay military members to serve. 20 years ago there was no female Thunderbird pilot.
    ~~~ You know what we had not 20 years ago, but 25 years ago? Our first Joint Chief of Staff that was not only African American, but also not a West Point Grad.
    His name was Colin Powell,

    Time to start googling so you can prove to the folks that their opinion is not based on facts, but instead a perception at best.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  3. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

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    Powell didn't graduate from USMA he did ROTC at a civilian university. What you are saying is absolutely true but I am talking more in terms of percent of under represented minorities that hold top positions in the military--there aren't as much in comparison to caucasians
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Although it's from 2008, I think this is a fairly balanced article on the issues you are asking about:
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/2008-07-23-blacks_N.htm

    Hope it's helpful. Frankly I think you should go for it in any case. Few rise to the levels you're talking about in any case, regardless of their race or national origin.
     
  5. Moosestache

    Moosestache Member

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    #1 I don't know what this pyramid crap you are talking about is.

    #2 I have no idea why you think it is fact.


    In 2011, 77% of the officers in the military were Caucasian, 9.5% were black or African American. In 2009 62.3% of college students were Caucasian, and 14.3% were Black or African American.

    You need to go to college to become an officer, and many of the officers have been in the military for a long time. So, the military %'s aren't really very far off from the college %'s.

    Then when you take into account that a very small % of officers ever become generals, and 80% of those generals should be Caucasian, without any biases at all, there aren't going to be many non white generals.
     
  6. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    I'm going to take another tack in answering your questions

    You are right, the cards are stacked against you, so you shouldn't even try to become an Army Officer. It's too hard.

    You could never be like these guys and gals
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Austin
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Powell
    http://www.army.mil/africanamericans/profiles/anderson.html
    http://www.army.mil/article/16455/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_L._Via
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_K._Brooks

    That was just 5 minutes of google searching. I could have also listed all the minority and female General's I served under in my short career.

    don't let your parents sell you short.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    My statistics professor said that we can manipulated to the numbers say whatever we want to say. Per this thread and other thread, you haven't don't any research actually give numbers to prove your assumption that that "percent of under represented minorities that hold top positions in the military." It's not as simple as numbers or percentages. There are three current African American four star general officers in the Army.

    Another thing you have to consider is, a thing about controlling your destiny, higher percentage of general officers have combat arms background.

    There was a study done why there are fewer African American combat arms officers

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA402652

    One of my roommates for West Point, African American, picked Infantry, he is still in, promoted to a COL ahead of the class, in BDE command. He is not a naïve person. He took the challenge, instead of running away from it.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Gridiron,

    Are your folks wanting you to go into a career field for promotability based on Affirmative Action? Is that something you want?

    What is your goal? To serve or make rank?

    What I wonder is if asked do you consider yourself American with an Ethiopian heritage, or an Ethiopian that is American.
     
  9. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    To Everyone but the OP,

    There was yet another recent thread (USCGA forum this time) on diveristy and the role it should play in determining officer candidates. One of the points made their centered around the "perceptions" that we need to guard against of our officer corps being un-respresentative of the force as a whole. Factual or not, that perception can be deadly. The post by this bright young man (OP) and his family's perceptions are a case in point.


    To the OP,

    You will be competing for an elite position amongst a field of elite individuals. Your challenges will be numerous... least amongst these will be ethnicity. If you rise to that position, it will be because you are the best. In any case, thank you for your desire to serve and keep driving forward.
     
  10. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Gridiron,

    It sounds like your parents are typical of ANY parent who is unfamiliar with a certian path their child wants to take in life. They hear the "rumors", the "horror stories" about how it used to be and assume that things are the same. They feel only they know the right path, and where their child should belong and is safe at.

    Well, this one is easy. Simply remind your parents that the Us Military was one of the first institutions to integrate minorities (albiet under unders, and the first few years were a hard and lonely path for those brave men and women who first stepped into those "hallowed halls"). A slow start, and a hard one, but for decades now it has been the norm. In fact, the military prides itself as the best place for a minority member to be given a fair shake in their progression and development.

    The military now embraces the fact that we go out of our way to find and recruit minority candidates who might not be aware of the advantages of a military career, especially for our officer ranks. After that, the military prides itself that each individual is treated just as that -- an individual, and there chances for progression are almost exlusively based on the merit of the indivual rather than what group the individual belongs to.

    The simple truth has been already posted: we simply have a what we,ve been striving for, an officer corps that matches the general public in make-up, where the minority members matches the general public's population ratios (in fact, more so in our enlisted ranks, and slightly less so in our officer ranks, mostly because of the challenges of finding qualified individuals aware and willing to make the military a career as an officer). Because of these "statistics", the chances for advancement show similar ratios based on racial affiliation.

    Or, simply tell your parents that of all the places and all the professions in the US, the military probably has the LEAST racial discrimination of them all.....
     
  11. mbitr

    mbitr Member

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    In the spirit of absolute honesty, yes, there is a very tiny chance that your race will have a small influence your career. But not in the way you're thinking. If you do Army ROTC and do not get your branch outright, your branch is determined by an algorithm called the DA branching model. It does take race into account to ensure diversity exists across the branches.
    I've only met one person who thought this happened to them. It was a black guy who had infantry towards the bottom of his list, didn't get any of his top three choices and went into the DABM, and came out infantry. I couldn't tell you of that's really why it worked out like that for him, but that was one of the possible explanations he said his PMS gave him.

    Edit: To add some context, the reason this was so puzzling for him is that infantry is one of the most competitive branches to access into. He wasn't very well ranked, either. If you don't ask for it, it usually doesn't sneak up on you out of nowhere like it did for him.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  12. natehanibal

    natehanibal Member

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    "The power of excellence is overwhelming, It is always in demand, and nobody cares about its color."

    - General Daniel S. "Chappie" James, USAF



    Quite a powerful quote from my FTM
     
  13. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    what MemberLG said.

    I have read that study, and a few others as well. Indeed if URMs would populate the MFE branches, especially Infantry, to the same % of their cohort as Non-URM, the perceived imbalance at O7 and above would likely not exist.

    As regards employment law and hiring and promoting practices within almost any organization, you cannot predict the prevailing winds in 10 or 20 years. The current environment (which may or may not be relevant in 10/20 years) in officer recruiting aims to create a commissioned officer corps that racially/ethnically mirrors the racial/ethnic % of the enlisted force. Note: that is not the same thing as mirroring the national ethnic population percentages.

    Why this new emphasis in evaluating the ethnic/racial backgrounds of war fighters at O7 and above? It came out of Congress in 2009. The current recruiting agencies (Military Academies, ROTCs, Field Commissions, Officer Candidate School) take their orders in this regard from Congress. In order to commission officers as O1s that mirror the racial/enthnic background of the enlisted ranks, the Academies/ROTC/OCS must have sufficient numbers in their pipelines as cadets/mids to meet these goals in 10/20 years. Doesn't matter what the Commanding Officers of the ROTCs, or the Commanding Officer at the Academies would do if left to their own judgment. There are now "targets" aka quotas that they must manage to. Actually this is to your ADVANTAGE, not disadvantage. There is no point to discuss whether this new targeting is good or bad. Doesn't matter for th purposes of your question... it just IS.

    In ten years when you are up for O4, and in 20 when you are up for O6, it may be to your advantage to be of Ethiopian descent, or it may not be. I put my money on the fact that it will be to your advantage.
     

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