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Why Black Officers Still Fail

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Many, including Charles Moskos and John Sibley Butler, have suggested that the US Army is a meritocracy at the forefront of diversity efforts. In fact, Moskos and Butler go so far as to state It is the only place in American life where whites are routinely bossed around by blacks. They, and others who espouse this point of view, routinely emphasize three facts. First, the Army was one of the initial US institutions to integrate blacks and whites as a result of President Harry Trumans Executive Order 9981. Second, blacks have risen to the highest levels of command in the American military, including Colin Powells appointment to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Finally, a black man, Barack Obama, has risen to the rank of Commander-in-Chief. While these points are immutable, it is also true that two of them are simply anomalies. Moskos and Butler described an Army they believe has ideally accommodated African-Americans. In their vision, the Army is an inclusive organization in which African-Americans can rise to the highest level, proving that the Army values African-Americans unique cultural perspective. At the same time, however, that Moskos and Butler came to the conclusion that Americas Army was akin to a utopia for the black man and woman, Colonel Remo Butler, a student at the US Army War College USAWC came to a very different conclusion. He found that black officers were not, in fact, serving in a form of utopia indeed, they were failing when compared with their white contemporaries. Based on his research project while a student at the USAWC, Butler offered evidence of his finding, black officers are falling behind their white counterparts in promotions at and above the rank of lieutenant colonel at a disconcerting rate.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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