For Stephanie Davis, a humble woman, the military represented an opportunity to live the American dream and to be treated the same as everyone else.

She joined the Air Force in 1988 and worked her way up to becoming an Airborne Surgeon, Commander of the Airborne Medical Unit at Fairchild Base, and Lieutenant Colonel.

To many of her comrades in arms, however, she was only a black woman. To others she was an “angry black woman”, an irritable black woman. An expression with a marked racist undertone.

White subordinates often refused to give her the required military salute and also made racist comments, she says.


“When blacks, and minorities in general, first experienced racism in the military, it took us by surprise,” Davis said. “They tell us that it is an area in which we are all equal and that we can rise to the top based on our merits.”

In interviews with the Associated Press, active and retired soldiers and officers from nearly all forces described a racist and discriminatory culture that refuses to disappear despite efforts to eradicate it.

The president spoke about his goals to eliminate racism, discrimination against the LGBT community, and gender-based violence.

The AP found that the military legal system does not have a specific category for discrimination, which makes it difficult to determine the extent of these behaviors.

The Defense Department, on the other hand, has no way of determining how many troops were expelled from the military for their extremist views, despite its repeated promises to eradicate them.

It was found that more than 20 people arrested by the takeover of Congress on January 6 had ties to the military.

The AP also found that the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not adequately deal with incidents of discrimination and that soldiers from minority groups are generally tried by white troops in court martial, which some experts say results in harsher punishments.

Racial discrimination doesn’t just affect soldiers. Every year there are complaints filed by civilian personnel of military units who also feel discriminated against, according to an analysis made by the AP of information collected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In February, Lloyd J. Austin III, a former army general who is now secretary of defense – the first black person to hold that portfolio – ordered commanders and supervisors to take a day to discuss extremism in their ranks.

Amanda Gorman reported on her Twitter account that a security guard followed her to her apartment because she seemed suspicious.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter to Austin following that order, praising his move, but stressing the need for immediate action to eliminate systemic racism.

“People indoctrinated with a white supremacist ideology pose a significant threat to national security and the well-being of our communities,” said SPLC President Margaret Huang.

The AP tried numerous times to contact the Department of Defense to see what kind of concrete measures were being taken to eliminate racism, discrimination and extremism, but did not receive responses in time for this dispatch.

We tell you the possible roots of this phenomenon that would explain the racial tensions in the country.

Amid the turmoil over the police killings of multiple blacks, Army General Mark A. Milley, commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared in Congress that the military cannot tolerate racism or The discrimination.

“Those of us who wear the national uniform know that cohesion is a multiplying force,” said Milley. “Divisions generate defeats.”

“The mission of the Department of Defense is to protect the country from our enemies,” he said. “And that is not possible if we have enemies in our own ranks.”

Towards the end of 2020, the Department of Defense issued a report on how to improve the racial and ethnic diversity of the military.

He noted that the composition of the armed forces has “slightly greater racial and ethnic diversity than civil society.” But that doesn’t happen among officers.

The CDC indicated that racism is a system, consisting of structures, policies, practices and norms, that assigns value and determines opportunities based on the appearance of people or the color of their skin. This results in conditions that unfairly benefit some and harm others throughout society.

They add that racism, both interpersonal and structural, negatively affects the mental and physical health of millions of people, preventing them from reaching their highest level of health and, consequently, affecting the health of the United States.

73% of the officers are white, compared to 8% African American, 8% Hispanic, 6% Asian and the rest of other origins. The lack of diversity increases as you move up through the ranks.

Several black officers interviewed by the AP said that culture must change so that they can be recognized accordingly.

Thomas Hobbs, an infantry colonel who retired in 2018 after 27 years of service in the Marine Corps, was one of those who spoke of how difficult it is to try to get by in “an (overwhelmingly) male and white culture.”

Hobbs said the Marine Corps recruits more African-American candidates than other services, but that “many of them serve no more than 10 years.”

“Why don’t they stay longer?” He asked. “Because they are tired of having to act a certain way all the time and can never be themselves.”

Some soldiers from minority groups reported incidents in which they say they were advised to put aside their cultures and avoid speaking languages ​​other than English so as not to offend their mostly white colleagues.

Several black women reported how difficult it is to handle themselves in a culture that often calls them “aggressive or complicated” and considers that they do not take care of their hair or sport hairstyles that are not worthy of the profession.

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