[NOTE: Be sure to see the UPDATES, especially UPDATE II, to this post!]
“How long,” a reader emails, “until the media begins to ask about whether the team of Seals that killed Osama was ‘diverse’?” [CORRECTION. Typo in original quote had Obama, not Osama, being killed.]
Good question. Certainly the major (and much of the minor) media and our cultural and moral betters whose views the media reflect believe that “diversity” of the armed forced, including especially one would think in its most important missions, is a matter of grave national importance. As 29 high-ranking military leaders argued in urging the Supreme Court to allow the University of Michigan to prefer some students over others based on their race,
Amici are former high-ranking officers and civilian leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, including former military-academy superintendents, Secretaries of Defense, and present and former members of the U.S. Senate. They are deeply interested in this case, because its outcome could affect the diversity of our nation’s officer corps and, in turn, the military’s ability to fulfill its missions.
According both to extensive survey data and the common sense of the American people, most of the rest of us continue to believe that “the military’s ability to fulfill its missions,” like the ability of all other organizations and institutions, depends on the skill and competence of the individuals with responsibility to do the job, not their color
“Navy Seals seek minority candidates,” Navy Times reported last November. (HatTip to the same reader whose query began this post.)
SAN DIEGO — The Naval Special Warfare Center is embarking on new marketing and awareness campaigns to reach more minority candidates who have the best odds of becoming Navy SEALs in the hope that those efforts will diversity the commando force….
Roughly 12.5 percent of the U.S. population is black, a number expected to rise to 13 percent by 2040, according to U.S. Census predictions. But only 10 percent of SEAL officers are minorities — with blacks representing 2 percent of officers — and minorities make up less than 20 percent of enlisted special warfare operators, according to a May contract solicitation for the pilot marketing and outreach program.
The latest plan comes as top military leaders — including Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former CNO — have spoken publicly about the importance of diversifying the military for the next generation, with diversity targets set for 2037.
Perhaps Admirals Roughead and Mullen could describe the “diversity” of the Seal Team Six that nailed Osama. If that teams by chance wasn’t “diverse,” then perhaps the good admirals could explain how the team could have been even more effective if had only been more “diverse.”
The Navy has also made a serious effort to discover the “barriers” that keep minorities out of special ops.
The latest campaign also aims to tackle a long-running and vexing problem: Why aren’t minorities attracted to spec ops as much as white men?
A 1999 Rand study that examined diversity among the military’s spec ops forces found several key “barriers” cited as reasons fewer minority men opt to go into special operations. These included: the lack of minorities as role models within spec ops forces; little support within their own minority communities for choosing spec ops; and poor skills, little access or less experience with swimming, which is critical to spec ops diving missions and a must in meeting physical fitness requirements and completing demanding training.
What? The Navy believes “experience with swimming” is a requirement for the SEALS and their “diving missions”? Doesn’t the Navy brass know that slaves weren’t allowed to swim, that under segregation blacks in the South and elsewhere were often restricted to inferior swimming pools or did not have access to swimming pools at all, and hence that a swimming requirement is pure disparate impact discrimination?
UPDATE II [May 8]
Ward Connerly, whom I’m proud to say is a reader and, more importantly, a friend, emailed the following, which I quote with permission:
In high school, I had a track coach who believed that the bodies of black people inhibited their ability to swim. He told me that if I went into a pool, I would “sink like a rock.” True story!
“Now,” I replied, ”
the real question is, How long did it take you to prove him wrong? (In your shoes, I probably would have been hesitant about testing his theory….)
I thought I was pulling his leg, but as it happened it actually took a while, as he explained:
My coach’s comment left me terrified of swimming pools for about 16 years. After I married, my wife and I were living in an apartment complex that had a pool very close to our unit. The fear of our little son wandering into the pool and me being unable to do anything about it prompted me to take swimming lessons at the YMCA. The first time that I entered the pool at the “Y” I thought of that track coach and worried that I might “sink like a rock.” So, stereotypes matter! Perhaps, this is one factor that explains why a lot of “blacks” avoid the Navy.