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

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by gridironkid, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    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. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    1
    Fixed it for you :thumb:

    If anything, you're better off being a high-performing minority
     
  3. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    You are better off being a high performing minority but my dad's argument was based off of the current demographics (percentage) of under represented minorities that are high ranking officers that hold big command positions--there are very few and through out history it has been mostly Caucasians. It is because of such a fact that he believes minorities can only go so far in their military career. For example has there been an under represented minority other than Generals Eric Shinseki and Colin Powell that has ever been appointed chief of staff?
     
  4. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Messages:
    1,115
    Likes Received:
    564
    And yet, if Colin Powell thought the way your parents do, he'd never have become a General.

    If you want to be the first General of Ethiopian decent, then your first step is apply and get accepted. Second step, do everything you can to be the best officer you can be. Nothing is better at holding you back than your own fears.
     
  5. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    121
    a: It takes a while to grow a General. The military has a messy history with race, and wrongs that are long gone may still have lingering aftereffects. Predjudices that existed thirty years ago or situations that convinced people to get out way back when may not be applicable now, or in twenty-five years when it would matter to you.

    b: Based mostly on my anecdotal experience (which take with a grain of salt, since the Marine Corps is not the Army), underrepresented minorities in the officer corps are...underrepresented. It's a little different because of gender restrictions, but you see the same thing with women in command roles: there aren't many because there just aren't that many female officers.

    I don't want to state this too strongly because I'm not a minority and there's a perspective here I don't necessarily understand as I haven't actually lived it. At the end of the day, you can go as far as your ability and interest will take you in the military, regardless of race.
     
  6. 845something

    845something Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    166
    CENTCOM: GEN Lloyd Austin
    USARPAC: GEN Vincent Brooks

    Right off the top of my head, these are two very important generals, perhaps the two most outside of the CSA, who happen to be minorities. One is in charge of the ongoing US wars in the Middle East, the other in charge of the Army's rebalance to the Asia Pacific region.

    Recall these leaders commissioned in the mid/late-70s, which was not a popular time for the military. These are the same leaders who had to deal with the after effects of Vietnam, and one of the lessons learned was having a primarily white officer corps (ie not representative of the Army as a whole) is not conducive to good order and discipline. Flash forward to 2012/13 and go look at who filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the college admissions/affirmative action case Fisher v UT. This is just looking at the intake and the ultimate output (O-10), and glancing over everything in between. As was said, merit will get you from A to B no matter how you commissioned or what your background is.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    First, you are an American first, than an Ethiopian. If you don't consider yourself as an American, why do you expect to be treated like an American?

    Do you want to make history or watch history? Are there discrimination in the Army - yes. Are there discrimination in the civilian life - yes. Are things getting better - yes. No disrespect to your parents, how do they know? If they say because they are older and wiser, well some of us are definitely older, might not be wiser. If all the minorities don't want to try or give up, who is going to break the "barriers"?

    We have something called "Black History Month." Appears that you have not done any significant research on achievements made by minorities in the U.S. Army. If you have time, browse this site

    http://www.army.mil/africanamericans/profiles.html
     
  8. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    The basis of this question implies or suggests that minorities are owed something, in this case, the top positions in the military. That in and of itself is prejudicial. As in most areas of life, the military strives to be merit-based, the operative word being, "strives". It is far from perfect and many times promotions can be seen as politically motivated.

    Being a minority means just that, the minority is fewer in number, therefore will have a lesser representation than a majority. That is simple statistics. But as previous posts have stated, there have already been minorities represented in the highest levels of the military, maybe just not your brand of minority.

    It is not the mission of the United States government to let everyone have a time as the person on top. The opportunity, yes, guaranteed, no. You determine how far you will go, plain and simple. The rest is out of your control, there are no guarantees in life.

    And the previous post said it best, you are an American first. Where you came from is of little importance.

    It's your move.
     
  9. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am simply restating what my parents told me. In no way am I oblivious to the fact that there ARE minority generals in the army and their accomplishments. Also, I was born in Ethiopia and came to U.S at 8 months (I received my citizenship through my father while in Ethiopia--in fact I have dual citizenship)
     
  10. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,234
    Likes Received:
    5
    Well if you want to be an officer you won't have dual citizenship much longer and I think Member just wanted you to solidify that you are an American and not Ethiopian. Citizenship isn't everything. I don't go around claiming I am German (could easily get German citizenship if I wanted to right now due to family) or Irish just because that is mainly my ancestry. I am American.

    As for generals. A very very very small percentage of any race makes it to general so if you are basing an argument on minorities in the general grade or upper field grade (now strategic) arena you are really having tunnel vision.

    In short, my limited experience as an officer tells me race does not matter in the slightest or at least not any different than the civvy world. True Caucasians are over represented in the military but that really hasn't changed since the birth of the nation especially in non draft periods.
     
  11. StayingPositive

    StayingPositive Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2013
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey that's going to be a problem. You're going to want to get rid of that Ethiopian citizenship and transfer fully over to American Citizenship as I did. Several minority cadets and midshipmen from West Point and USNA were actually kicked out because of dual citizenship issues. It was in the papers a few months back.

    I mean I don't know if it happens to everyone, but I didn't want to take that risk.
     
  12. 845something

    845something Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    166
    You cannot complete/be granted your security clearance (without lying) if you are a dual citizen.
     
  13. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    Either you are trolling or you need to frame your question better.

    A better question would have been something along the line that "my parents think that due to discrimination not many minorities, make general officers or go pretty high in the ranks. I know that many minorities made general officers and some are pretty high in the ranks. My parents right or wrong?" In a face to face discussion, things could be discussed more. But on an internet forum, what you posted stands alone.

    If you were aware of the fact there are minority generals in the Army and their accomplishments, that contradicted your original question

     
  14. gridironkid

    gridironkid Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wasn't trying to troll--No. In fact you re framed the question much better. My parents take such a stand because there isn't an equal representation of minorities and African Americans that make general as much as Caucasians. So no matter how much you tell them the reasons as to why such a phenomena occurs they don't wish to believe it (I personally think its the fact that they come from an older generation than I) So, to them it would only make sense to go ahead and blame the fact that there is indirect discrimination that hinders the chances one has in going very high in the ranks. I don't agree with them 100% but I am aware, like everyone else, that there is a form of discrimination that goes on not only in the military but in the job world. However I will not let such a reality stop me from having a successful career in the Army.
     
  15. majmattmason

    majmattmason Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    My advice? Don't start this journey with a chip on your shoulder about who has advantages and who doesn't. If you get to an Academy, there will ALWAYS be someone who is better than you, it's a collection of type A personalities who were the best at whatever back home. But if you go in with an attitude of not being offered the same chances as someone else, you are defeating yourself, and who would want that person as a General? Drop it is the best advice, but in the end it is your choice to hold onto it or to let it go.
     

Share This Page