Segregation In The Military Essay

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African Americans have served in the military for hundreds of years; in fact there has been no war that African Americans have not participated in. African Americans chose to fight in wars for various reasons including proving their loyalty to America. Despite all of the motives in joining the Armed Forces and fighting for America, blacks faced segregation in the military. African Americans played a vital role in integrating the military, but when segregation ended in the military blacks faced another problem: racism. The downgrading of blacks plays a role in racism, which was a major problem for African Americans in the military. The Vietnam War is where many African Americans faced racial violence. Causalities in the Vietnam War may have …show more content…
“As early as 1919, the army announced that … blacks would be restricted to service in segregated infantry units.” (Westheider 5) This was the first national and public instance where the military was enforcing segregation. “Blacks served in racially segregated units and accounted for about 10 percent of Army personnel.” (D. Segal & M. Segal 18) “The Marine Corps continued to reject black applicants, and the navy restricted blacks to messmen duties.” (Westhieder 5) Another statement that proves that the Armed Forces were enforcing segregation and racism, and that feel blacks are inferior to whites. Segregation is a form of racism and was promoted by the military. “Blacks in military service have been “the objects of the ambivalence of racism”… which Barbeau and Henri describe as the double-barreled desire to use the black man like an inferior yet have him perform as an equal, to deal with him according to a double standard but judge him by a single standard.” (Gatewood 32-33) The ambivalence of racism is essentially the desire to use African Americans to perform duties at exceedingly high levels, yet treat them as they are meaningless. This in turn creates the underlying problem of racism: a mutual feeling of superiority to other …show more content…
Blacks felt that the military has one goal and that is to complete the specified mission, and segregation does not aid in accomplishing the goal. The society in the military and American society are directly correlated; in other terms, what happens in American society subsequently occurs in the military society. Eventually African Americans grew tired of being neglected and decided to change it. All black regiments began to succeed and blacks were working well together; soon African Americans created a record that other regiments admired. Whites started to miscalculate African American performance and participation in wars, consequently making blacks appear as bad soldiers. “The experience of Negro servicemen… gave birth to a new spirit among blacks – a determination never again to accept passively the assaults and indignities that had been heaped upon them in the past.” (Gatewood 34) The heightened spirits of blacks allowed them to continue to push and work to integrate the military. “…developments in American society gradually forced changes in such policies.” (Gatewood 35) African Americans continued to excel in their own regiments, and in 1954 “segregation had been officially eliminated from the internal structure of the active military forces.” (Gatewood

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