Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Marine Corps and Black History Month

About one year ago today, we posted about the then-new Marine Corps Black History Month commercial.

Much has been said over the past year about making the Marine Corps reflect the so-called "face of the nation" in its racial make up. As one leader clamors for more black officers, some in the trenches have pointed out the difficulties in recruiting that particular racial group into the Corps' officer ranks.

I constantly have my nose pointing upwind, so I think I know what's coming. Comments have already been made that leaders would like to see an increase in both the number of black officer candidates as well as enlisted recruits.

For months now, I've been drafting my thoughts on the matter, but before I publish them, I really want some input.

Why do you think the Marine Corps has such a hard time getting black officer candidates and enlisted recruits?

*NOTE - Some of you may be "offended" by my constant use of "black" as opposed to "African-American". To that, I must refer to part of a speach Theodore Roosevelt gave in 1915:

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism. When I refer to hyphenated Americans, I do not refer to naturalized Americans. Some of the very best Americans I have ever known were naturalized Americans, Americans born abroad. But a hyphenated American is not an American at all. This is just as true of the man who puts "native" before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen. Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul. Our allegiance must be purely to the United States. We must unsparingly condemn any man who holds any other allegiance. But if he is heartily and singly loyal to this Republic, then no matter where he was born, he is just as good an American as any one else.

The men who do not become Americans and nothing else are hyphenated Americans; and there ought to be no room for them in this country. The man who calls himself an American citizen and who yet shows by his actions that he is primarily the citizen of a foreign land, plays a thoroughly mischievous part in the life of our body politic. He has no place here; and the sooner he returns to the land to which he feels his real heart-allegiance, the better it will be for every good American. There is no such thing as a hyphenated American who is a good American. The only man who is a good American is the man who is an American and nothing else.

For an American citizen to vote as a German-American, an Irish-American, or an English-American, is to be a traitor to American institutions; and those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American Republic. (Theodore Roosevelt, 1915)

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