Equal Opportunity In The Military

The military is a unique area which has not always conformed in a timely manner to the rules and regulations put into place by federal law or state laws. The military is an older component of the government which utilizes older laws. As they struggle to change and catch up to modern times a great deal of publicity has been drawn to their previous lack of equal opportunity.

During the American Revolution black colonists fought alongside the white colonists. They received equal treatment as they worked against the British rule. But soon after the revolution slavery came about they were no longer viewed as equal. This continued for decades before the black Americans were allowed to serve in the military. Upon allowing them to enlist they were nonetheless discriminated against strongly. During the Second World War many African Americans were enlisted but they did not enjoy equal opportunity. They served in non-combat roles primarily such as that of cook or janitor or laundry services. They worked in labor based roles without the ability to move upward in their field or to achieve the same rank or education as their white counterparts. Even as the war progressed and a group of African American soldiers were compiled to form the Tuskegee Airmen they were still separate from their white counterparts. Women were not allowed to enlist at this time.

Soon enough attention was drawn to the lack of equal opportunity and women were allowed to enlist in the military. This was seemingly a great development but those women who did enlist served in the remedial roles that African Americans once filled and were often given administrative duties. Originally there were boxes to check for those who were African American. As this became a form of discrimination during the Vietnam War the boxes were removed but white enlisted and officers continued to place check marks on the top corners of their files to indicate that they were African American. This caused problems with promotions and inhibited equal opportunity for jobs and advancement in the career field.

Today the African American and female communities of the military are given more opportunities than normal but they are still struggling to cultivate the same opportunities that the “good ole’ boys club” has continued to provide for their constituents and their constituents alone. The problem of women being discriminated against through sexual assault remains and there is a large debate nationally about particular specialty units that do not allow women but progress has nonetheless been made.


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