After being divided up by gender, we were asked to further divide ourselves by race.
I feel like I’m the only person who understands that dividing people isn’t the way to bring them together. Apparently, all of this came out from the command climate survey. People felt like they were being mistreated based on race.
*bangs head on desk*
I just wish that people would look at things objectively. Before you jump on race, maybe you should consider something else. Across America, many people feel like everything is dependent upon race. I do not believe this to be exactly true. Do we all love each other? No, but it isn’t race that divides us—it’s class. IT’S MONEY! Race can play a part in it, but I really think money is the driving factor for everything.
No one likes a poor person, whether you’re white, black or purple. Even poor people don’t like other poor people. If someone feels like you’re not good enough, it’s probably because you’re a deadbeat, broke ass bum—not because of the colour of your skin. At least, that is my opinion.
The same theme permeates this circus of a unit. The unit is about 60% minority. (This is based on my observation and not actual numbers. I know for sure that we have more minorities; I just don’t know the exact number.) A number of the minorities happen to be our most junior-ranking Soldiers. When we first arrived here, we had to task a large number of Soldiers to Higher Headquarters. There was no debate about it. Higher Headquarters said they wanted the Soldiers to fill in gaps within their own organization. Anyone that has been in the Army longer than 15 minutes knows that means “shit detail.”
From my understanding none of the leaders of my own unit actually selected the Soldiers to go to Higher Headquarters. The names were selected by our predecessor unit. They ran down our roster and selected Soldiers based on rank and MOS. A manning document does not contain race, so how the hell would they know who’s black or white?
We also did not even know the exact detail the Soldiers would be doing for Higher Headquarters. We would later find out that some Soldiers ended up in nice office jobs. One Sergeant even landed his very own room and vehicle because he was assigned to a cush position. Some Soldiers were happy because they got tasks that were related to their MOSs. Of course, you can’t please everyone. One of the details was trash pick-up.
Before you start laughing, let me tell you how I would have been okay with a trash detail. When we first arrived here, it was hot as fuck. That does not sound pleasant because I hate being even the slightest bit warm, but these assholes only had to work about four hours a day. They got up real early before the heat became excruciating. The NCO that was in charge of them didn’t even have to pick up trash. All that was required was to drive around and make sure the Soldiers were where they were supposed to be.
That’s it. I did hear that occasionally there was an extra hour or two, but the bottom line is that they were not putting in the same hours as everyone else. They could go back to the barracks and sleep. They could take care of their own personal business. They could hit the gym, or shop, or do whatever they wanted and no one was even looking for them. They pretty much had no oversight except that one NCO.
So what’s the problem? Apparently, everyone on the trash detail was black.
I didn’t look upon it as black trash pickers. I looked upon it as SPECIALISTS (E4s) picking up trash. Typically, that is a job you assign to a junior Soldier. I cannot imagine why anyone in their right mind would think an E8 should be out picking trash, unless he was on some kind of additional duty punishment (and even then I still don’t believe it would happen). They didn’t see it that way, and they made a big deal out of it. Also, I want to point out the Sergeant who ended up with his own room and vehicle is black.
Then there was the question of Soldiers who came from out of state. We did not have enough from our home unit to make up the numbers, so we advertised for vacancies. Soldiers from a number of states showed up. Some of these Soldiers felt they were also mistreated because of they weren’t from Maryland (as if being from Maryland is something special). There was a great deal of bitching about boots. Six months before the deployment we were sized for boots at home station. I am not even sure at that point we knew exactly which out of state Soldiers would be joining us, so obviously we didn’t have their sizes. The boots arrived months later, after we had already got to AJ. The out of state Soldiers saw the Maryland Soldiers getting boots and some felt like it was something underhanded.
The EO Lady comes back and divides us by race and rank. I’m supposed to go into this room with other “African-Americans” of the same rank. I had a huge problem with this. Under no circumstances have I ever referred to myself as African-American. What you choose to call yourself is a personal thing and I have always been of the mind that no one else can determine what I am. [Later, I would find out that you can actually call yourself whatever you want and no one can do anything about it. So if I feel like being Eskimo, I can.]
When I told her I wasn’t African-American she wanted me to provide documentation to the contrary. Well, where’s your documentation stating you are whatever you say you are? Does anybody have some kind of card saying they’re white, like a White Person Card? Okay, I do have documentation. I have a piece of paper that says I was born in the United States, and that’s all you need from me.
I do refer to myself as having one particular origin over another. I’m not talking about claiming I’m Chinese, or some shit. The choice for me came down to an extremely personal matter that I did not care to discuss with her or anyone else. She said because I did not have the documentation I would have to go to the African-American group. You don’t tell me what to do.
I did not go.
I gather the purpose of these focus groups is to group commonalities, and that was the problem for me. I could not sit in a room with the three African-Americans and even pretend like I had anything in common with them. We have nothing of the same experiences. We’re not on the same page. Hell, we’re not even in the same fucking library. I just flat out refused to go.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one refusing to go to these stupid ass groups. Quite a few Soldiers ditched out of their focus group because they felt like they had nothing to say. Then Higher put out that the groups were mandatory. You can go to the focus group and just sit there, but you have to go. What a total waste of time. I still didn’t go. Eventually my assigned group came and went. EO Lady tracked me down and asked me to sit with her one-on-one. I begrudgingly agreed to do this.
The first few minutes was me basically staring at her. She tried to revisit the barracks issue. I told her I was finished talking about that situation. Then she asked me about my leadership. The questions were insane. Who would really out of their mouth say, “I think my [insert leader here] is a piece of shit” and not expect some repercussions. I told her I wouldn’t answer specific questions about anyone. She went into some bullshit about reprisal and how no one can do anything to me if I talk. Only a fool believes that. You can cite whatever regulation you want; all of it is just paper. She asked if I felt like my immediate boss was discriminatory. I actually laughed in her face. It’s a stupid accusation, and I knew immediately where it came from. A few weeks before all of this bullshit, a Soldier had an altercation with my boss. During the Soldier’s vent session they told me they would play the race card if it came down to it. I have no idea if this Soldier ever spoke with the EO Lady. Who knew what could have transpired? Why set myself up? I did not witness the altercation between the two. I only heard one side of the story. Just because one Soldier wants to “play the race card,” it doesn’t mean we all do. EO Lady did not ask me about that Soldier in particular, but she did keep drilling me about my boss and other key leaders.
Then she started asking very pointed questions about an individual I hardly even know. It was actually a little bizarre. This time I didn’t have to stonewall. I honestly did not know the answers to her questions. I felt like the Soldier was the subject of a witch hunt. Who knows what the Soldier is actually involved in, I couldn’t say.
I felt only slightly more comfortable speaking with her one-on-one, but I still did not feel comfortable baring my soul to her. I felt my answers would just stir up trouble, and that is what I explained to her. I understood her role and position as an investigator of potential wrongdoing in the company but looked upon her as a harbinger of trouble. We’re here for a few more months. Why can’t you just leave it alone? We’ll all go home where we belong and forget about this mess.
I feel like nothing good will come of her investigation. I do not feel like she’ll come back and say, “Hey, I think everything is fine in the unit. Have a good day.” In fact, she told me there were serious issues that have gone to the next level and that she “did not know what the outcome would be.”
Why would I want to talk to someone that could destroy us all? How would we progress if one of our leaders was removed from their position? I just don’t see why we’re even doing this. I mean, I do, but I don’t. I just want everything to go away.