High Seas Segregation

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Luigi59, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    High Seas Segregation

    Editorial - The Washington Times
    July 30, 2010

    The Navy is listing dangerously in politically correct water

    The Navy wants to judge sailors by the color of their skin, not the content of their seamanship.

    The latest national security leak is a shocking e-mail from a Navy admiral on "Diversity Accountability." The message, sent to a list of other flag officers, notes that "a change in focus of this year's diversity brief is the desire to identify our key performers (by name) and provide insight on each of them." Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, who apparently originated this order, "is interested in who are the diverse officers with high potential and what is the plan for their career progression. He may ask what is being done within to ensure they are considered for key follow on billets within the Navy."

    The message specifies, "This list must be held very closely but will provide ready reference to ensure we are carefully monitoring and supporting the careers of the best and the brightest the Navy has to offer." That is, the best and the brightest provided a sailor is one of the euphemistically "diverse." If you are a white male, it might be time to set sail and seek opportunities elsewhere.

    In practice, the Navy will be creating a list of privileged "diverse" officers who will enjoy special benefits and career mentoring not available to people of the wrong race, as well as a virtual guarantee of fast-track access to the highest reaches of command. Fifty-six years after the Supreme Court struck down the concept of "separate but equal" treatment of races, the U.S. Navy is erecting a wall of segregation between what will amount to two parallel promotion systems: one for the "diverse" and another for the monotone. If this isn't illegal, it should be.

    (Rest of article here - EDITORIAL: High seas segregation - Washington Times )

    (copy of redacted email here - http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com/2010/07/diversity-thursday_29.html )
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Typical extremism. Not saying there were injustices in the past due to a person's race, sex, or skin color; but two wrongs don't make a right. You can't, nor should you try, to make up for past injustices by giving special consideration to individuals based on anything other than performance. Especially when those that had injustices against them, aren't the same people who are being given special consideration now. It would be different if they were trying to compensate an individual who had injustices against them personally.

    Of course, they will rationalize it by saying that both individuals; minority and non-minority are equal in most areas; and that the reason for giving the minority consideration is so that the minority enlisted and lower ranking individuals will have more role models and positive examples for them to influence them. That sounds happy and all, but it's counterproductive. Most individuals, (Mind you I say most, not all), actually have very little problem with race, color, sex, religion, etc... A minority E-1 enlisted doesn't need a Minority O-6 as their commander to feel like they themselves have purpose and respect. Unfortunately, for political reasons, some people in the military and DOD feel that they have to be proactive and adjust numbers to create a more balanced military. Even if that means that the most qualified isn't the one chosen for certain commands, promotions, or duties.

    The only way to fix minority and racial issues, is to have a firm policy of equality. Set scoring so that the best person is accepted, promoted, etc... based on their qualifications. And follow this policy. If the person happens to be white, black, asian, man, woman, etc... then so be it. But the minute you even imply that you're intentionally looking for a certain quality or characteristic, that CAN NOT be achieved by all people, you WILL create conflict and tension. The admiral should be applauded for wanting to have a more diverse military, in the upper ranks, but he should know better that you can not pace off lower performance as higher performance. And the minute he made the statements he did, whether or not the minority officer selected was the HIGHEST performer or not, there will be doubts in many people's minds. And that's all it takes for moral and respect to diminish.
     
  3. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    The incredibly obvious problem is this - there are a limited number of promotions to each rank based on the authorized officer strength set by the Secretary of the Navy. Therefore to give priority promotion advantage to one "class" (in this case, minority officers) you have to take from another "class" (white males).

    White males will certainly be negatively impacted by this policy, while minority males will benefit. For no other reason but the color of their skin.

    Prospective officer candidates to the US Navy, either via the US Naval Academy, ROTC, or OCS, need to be aware that their long-term career aspirations in the United States Navy will be impacted by the racial group to which they belong, i.e. - the color of their skin.
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    So Roughhead wants to know who the potential fast burners are who are minorities- Which part of that is any different than what they did and do every day for white guys who are identified at the O3 level as fast movers? Which part of that is any different than what they did for promoting females ?Perhaps someone could identify the flag officer in any of the services who did not get identified relatively early in his or her career and get special mentoring and key follow on billets? Surely no one thinks that the majority of flag officers just bubbled up to the top when they got to the O6 level: after the stars all aligned for their careers and they just happened to fall into the best command and operations jobs? I hate to break your vision of purity but it doesn't happen that way in most cases. Take a look at the number of flag officers who pulled a tour in the military or naval personnel center or even more as an Aide to a General Officer or Admiral, followed by several really favorable follow on assignments. That's called mentoring and career management and that's exactly what it seems to me that he is calling for here.
     
  5. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    (pssssst - it's called discrimination)

    Notice that Roughead didn't want the names of anyone else but the "diverse" candidates. (Remember, it (diversity) is his #1 priority.)

    No, that's called racism. When one group is favored over another group, with the only distinction being their race.

    And it's against the law:

    "Any person, of whatever race, has the right to demand that any governmental actor subject to the Constitution justify any racial classification subjecting that person to unequal treatment under the strictest of judicial scrutiny."
    Adarand Constructors, Inc v. Pena, 515 US 200, 224 (1995)

    rac·ism   [rey-siz-uhm]
    –noun
    1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

    dis·crim·i·na·tion   [dih-skrim-uh-ney-shuhn]
    –noun
    1. an act or instance of discriminating.
    2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

    :cool:
     
  6. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Psshh. Individual merit.
    Early Identification and mentoring of high performers in order to increase their opportunities- thats business as usual. And anyone with experience as a career military officer knows that is exactly how future flag ranks are managed now in every service. And I can promise you that in every service - DoD or DHS their is an informal list of fair haired children at the O3 & O4 level who are being pushed, pulled & boosted along into the "right" positions to position them for the "right" follow on assignment. They still may fail - but if they are successful they are in a position to be much more successful than their peers who may also have been "successful" at that same level. That's called reality. What would be surprising would be if the CNO or the Cmdt of the Coast Guard ; Chief of Staff of the Army etc... didn't keep an eye out to identify minority officers of high potential to make sure they are mentored and not just lost in the jumble.
     
  7. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I think the difference here is that he is asking for a specific subset of officers. Why can't they simply be lumped in with all the "fast movers"? Why does race have to play any part in this? I have the same argument for the female issue that you mention as well. Why not simply lump all the great performers with all the great performers. Why do you need to break it out by race/sex?

    I think people would be up in arms if there was a list of all the high performers and next to your name was your race. How is this any different. If they really want to figure out from the list who is a "diverse" officer all they have to do is look at your official photo in your record (which by the way was discontinued and then restarted in 2007, I wonder why???? :cool: )

    Anyway, the CDR Salamander blog is always an interesting read. He goes a bit overboard at times, but it is a good way to keep updated about some issues that you don't hear about otherwise.

    What happens if a particular command doesn't have a "diverse officer" that is considered a great performer? My command has one african american officer and all of I think four female officers. The command will look bad if they don't submit some names, so what to do if none of them are great? (BTW definitely not the case in my command)
     
  8. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    The short answer is because they do have an outcome- they want to have a higher % of flag officers of minority status. Is that important? I'm inclined to believe it is. It's a multicultural country and I don't think that the service can be perpetually seen by a significant portion of the population as a bastion of just one segment of the population.
    As far as your hypothetical- that would be a problem. I don't think that the current system pushes forward substandard performers now- and from what I can actally read here he isn't suggesting that some average schmoe be tracked just because he or she is a minority.
    I agree- CDR Salamander is an interesting and informative blog - it's just not gospel. Like most insider blogs- if you don't have much personal experience to balance the point of view that the blogger is espousing you might not know what's right on, what is way over the top and what is spin.
     
  9. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  10. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Larry - pretty good article and i guess that i agree with much of what Sen Webb says. But while in the overall society it's not the role of the government to "pick the winners", in the military it is absolutely the governments role to pick the winners. My reading of Adm Roughhead's memo is simply that he want to ensure that the pool to pick from includes those who don't necessarily have the old school tie to fall back on. CDR Salamander clearly disagrees. I dunno- but I do know that it is not now and never was some act of blind impartial justice that winds up with the best rising to the top without any kind of early, outside intervention. So given that- I think roughhead is right in making sure that he knows who the minority officers with real potential are.
    Love to chat some more on this subject but gotta go.
    Keep it in bounds when discussing this one folks
     
  11. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Nice link.

    I especially liked the closing thought of Jim Webb:

    "Our government should be in the business of enabling
    opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so
    by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race
    do not determine outcomes."


    Clealry, Roughead disagrees and believes racial discrimination today is the way to make up for racial discrimination of yesterday. :screwy:
     
  12. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Here's my personal thoughts on this:

    Do we need more diversity in the senior officer ranks? I don't really know. I simply want the best officers there. I don't care if it's a set of conjoined twins or someone who looks just like me, I just want someone who will make the "best" decisions.

    Now, why do we even look at race/sex in promotion/networking/mentoring, etc. It's all based on history. The military hasn't been so kind to many groups in the past and they are looking to ensure we don't make those mistakes again. However, we at times seem to do it at the expense of those not in a minority group. I sure would like to be mentored by someone who is a senior officer. That is huge in the medical corps. But I don't have built in systems for this because I'm not in a minority group, instead I went out on my own and found someone. This isn't quite as easy in the line community, it's not like your typical O1-O3 has daily/weekly/monthly contact with an O6 or above.

    Anyway, if we are to say that we need this list then we are implicitly stating that there are still rampant EO violations. I tend to disagree here. I think it has more to do with recruiting. There are fewer "diverse officers" on the officer side, so you're going to get fewer in the higher ranks. If "diverse officers" have the same percentage of low performers as do "non diverse officers" then that is going to hurt the "diverse officers" even more in comparison when it comes to numbers promoted.

    Lets work on fixing our manning and ships and budget before we worry about creating a list of "diverse officers."

    Anyway, just my thoughts. Agree with Bruno, let's be careful on this and ensure it doesn't get inflammatory.

    PS: why the heck is there an EO category on my fitrep? Really, come on? Impossible to do well there unless you are the command EO or something similar. Ridiculous in my opinion.
     
  13. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    If Roughhead is right, why do they want to keep the list "quiet" or whatever code word they used to say: don't allow the public to see it? I say shout it from the rooftops!

    Seems to me the folks that have benefited most in this world by the "Old Boy" network, really want to punish the kids of today, that had absolutely nothing to do with anything in the past, good or bad.

    I say equal criteria for each candidate.

    BTW, what office in the DoD or HLS has a list of fair haired up and comers? Please....
     
  14. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    Everything bruno stated is absolutely correct. Additionally, in the Navy, there is a very informal but very real mentor system. It is not an assignment, but voluntary. Therefore one picks a mentor who is willing to work with them. They will pick someone as close to them as possible. As a white male helo pilot Academy grad, I doubt if I ever would have chosen a black female surface OCS grad. We have nothing in common.

    The current issue is that there are not sufficient mentors for minorities. No one to ernsure that they pick the right assignments. The right assignment is probably one of the most important things in fast track promotion. Minorities, who currently may not even be aware of the necessity for a particular fast track assignment will now be given that opportunity. It sounds to me if this is about the most low key initiative imaginable to ensure equality.

    Maximus, so long as the list is 'secret', there are no undue expectations from anyone. There has never been a list of front runners in the history of the Navy. It would be a detriment to all concerned to start one now.

    kp2001, the EO evaluation was placed on the fitrep back in the '70s when there was probably a need for it. It specifically has lost it's necessity. However, like many other categories, only any mark not consistent with the remainder would raise an eyebrow on a board.
     
  15. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    Hey Mongo, 'you fellers' ran the system then, the kids of today will pay for it now :biggrin:

    Sad state of affairs and don't dare question it, or you're labeled.

    Have fun playing semantics all day, I'm off to the mines....
     
  16. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Race isn't suppose to play a factor in opportunities, promotions, assignments, etc... Yet, for some reason, we're being told that we have nothing in common with someone because they are black and I'm white; or because they're a woman and I'm a man. As long as some people have this attitude, there will always be racism. It's rationalization and hypocrisy in it's most "Politically Correct" fashion. If people truly cared about eliminating prejudice and discrimination, then the first thing they need to do is cut the race card umbilical cord. The race card that's played when something doesn't go their way. And the mentality has to stop, pretending that people are due restitution. Especially for things that didn't even happen to them directly or even their generation.

    The military is a social leader in many facets. When they start treating individuals as equals, people will feel equal and treated equally by others. But as long as there is any type of "Affirmative Action" for minorities in acceptance to the academy, commissioning, enlistments, promotions, assignments, etc... then discrimination will continue. Can't have it both ways. Two people are NOT EQUAL and won't be treated equally as long as you mention race, color, sex, etc... when referencing their qualifications.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am sure I am going to get blasted for this, but here goes!

    I am always offended by comments of white or black. My brother is an Albino. My parents raised me to believe the only difference between him, the ultimate white (skin I mean) and a black person was the amount of pigmentation in their skin. He had none they had a lot. In my family growing up if I used color of skin as a descriptor I could expect a hand upside my head. In Bullet and my family, no hands went up their heads, but I would correct them and say, I am sorry who are you talking about, and continue to say that until they removed the color of skin as a descriptor, of course their uncle being Albino made it easy to understand why we did that.

    So to say
    is offensive to me, not only as a woman, but regarding race.

    Mentors should have no skin color tagged to them, they are military members that people want to emulate. How does race play into picking the right assignment? Shouldn't it not make a difference what race or sex you are, but the actual career goal? By saying a statement like the above, we are only prolonging racism within the military, because we are saying race does matter.

    I do agree that Mongo as a Helo pilot could not mentor the SWO, but notice it was not WHITE Mongo and BLACK SWO or MALE Mongo and FEMALE SWO. It was based on the fact that he was a HELO pilot and she was a SWO. Two different career fields.

    IS anyone here willing to say that a good officer looks at their skin first, sex second, and billet third when they choose mentors? I think Billet goes first.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  18. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    From The Washington Times editorial:

    Roughead's "diversity is our #1 goal" strategy might just backfire on him.
     
  19. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Putting aside race for the moment, the issue of whether a mentor must "look just like you" is an interesting debate. When I entered the USN, the most senior females in my career field were O-4s, and there weren't many of those. Thus, we had to look to men to be our mentors.

    The same was true in my civilian job. When I joined, there were no women in a position to mentor me. My mentors were three males, who were very supportive of women and not "afraid" to be seen mentoring women.

    I believe that today's young people are a bit different than in my day. It seems more important to them to see people who "look like them" in leadership roles to prove they can make it.

    As Mongo points out, in the military, you do need someone to help you along -- help you get the right assignments, etc. That, BTW, is a far cry from helping you do well in those assignments -- that's your problem.:smile: This is true whether you're black or white, male or female, pilot or submariner.

    I think there has been an "informal" list for years -- anyone who spent more than 5 yrs in the military can't tell me that you didn't know who the "front runners" were -- at least the one(s) in your unit. If what the USN is doing is making sure that people make sure to include minority front-runners when they are thinking about helping jr. officers, I'm ok with that. Making sure they don't get "lost in the shuffle."

    I agree it's a fine line b/t that and something more insidious but, given that we don't know more than what the editorial writer said, I'm not willing to jump to nefarious conclusions.

    Back to my original point, today people must be willing to reach up and down for mentors and mentees who don't look like them. I mentor a couple of men in my office, just as I was mentored by men. I'm also mentoring a minority female. To me, the person need not be a white female to be a mentee.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    With all of my body, I hope that your perception is incorrect, because to me that means are future will be more divided than united. Which would be ironic since it is our youth who to me seem more accepting of minorities (and I mean social and physical, i.e homosexuals, and handicap besides race and sex) than 20 -30 yrs ago when I was a young teen. I do understand your point though. For example, I remember Shannon Faulkner back in the 90's, fighting for that Citadel position. As a woman, I supported her, but when she finally got that spot, and arrived overweight, the first thing that went through my mind is you just made it harder for the next girl, I was infuriated by the trail of damage she left behind. She did not understand the levity of the situation from a mentor standpoint, she was not a Sally Ride, Jeannie Flynn (1st female AF fighter pilot) or Fifi Malachowski (1st female Thunderbird), all of them understood that it was not just them, but their sisters too.

    I absolutely do agree in the military, especially the flying world, you knew who the fast trackers were before their 1st military commitment was up. Look at current SA grads, don't you think the ones that got fellowships and Rhodes would be immediately deemed fast track, unless they screw it up?
    Sometimes fast tracking also occurs because of doing the right thing at the right place at the right time under the right conditions...in other words fate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010

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