By Christian Watson, Spokesman for Color Us United
Since President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring the federal government to prioritize racial equity, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a deadly virus, infecting every one of our institutions, including the United States military.
DEI is already taking a toll on our nation’s armed forces, most notably compromising recruiting efforts.
In the last fiscal year, for example, the Army was 15,000 recruits short of its 60,000 goal. It’s been called “the worst recruiting crisis since the creation of the all-volunteer force nearly 50 years ago,” and many Republicans point out that DEI initiatives are at least in part to blame.
In late March, at a hearing on these challenges, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said it best: “They suggest to the American people the military has a problem with diversity and extremism,” he said. “In truth, the military is the greatest civil rights program in the history of the world.”
For generations, colorblindness and meritocracy have helped make the U.S. military the strongest in the world. But now our military is being bogged down and distracted by the Left’s woke agenda.
One recent report on the Navy compiled for members of Congress observed that “non-combat curricula consume Navy resources, clog inboxes, create administrative quagmires, and monopolize precious training time.”
Additionally, a recent poll conducted by the Heritage Foundation found that 65% of active-duty personnel are concerned about growing politicization in the military, including the woke training programs and equity-minded reduced physical fitness standards.
The truth is that DEI is preventing the military from focusing on its primary mission: the defense of this nation.
That should be unsettling for all Americans. Military readiness does not just win wars — it prevents them from happening.
Furthermore, DEI initiatives actually undermine efforts to increase minority recruitment by removing some of the incentives that made the military attractive to minorities in the first place.
For many Americans, joining the military has been a means of economic advancement, particularly for minorities who have historically faced greater barriers to success.
According to the Institute for Family Studies , military service has been a vital tool for upward mobility, offering a way for individuals to escape poverty and build a better future for themselves and their families based solely on their own merit.
In fact, black men who serve in the military are more likely to reach the middle class by the time they reach midlife than those that did not serve.
Given this fact, it’s no wonder black Americans choose to serve in the Army at a rate that is higher than their representation in the U.S. population.
In 2020, while only making up 12% of the population, black soldiers comprised approximately 21% of the active-duty Army, 15% of the National Guard, and 21% of the Army Reserve.
For a real-world example, in an interview with NBC , Army Major Sean Brandon, who served in Afghanistan, detailed how military service lifted him and his family out of poverty.
Brandon’s father and aunt joined the military after reeling from job losses in the tobacco and manufacturing industry. Brandon said, “They weren’t even lower middle class; they lived in poverty with government assistance … The military became a way to gain the American dream.”
Unfortunately, DEI programs threaten to dismantle this model of success completely. It turns out that telling minority recruits the military is racist isn’t very helpful in persuading those minorities to join it.
Moreover, the Left’s DEI agenda will almost certainly increase division among recruits and active members, just as it has in corporate America.
Indeed, many studies prove DEI training has not had a positive impact and has even worsened racial tensions in the U.S.
We should empower individuals to join the military by showing them the truth: anyone can lift themselves out of poverty through hard work and their own merit without the help of a quota requirement.
The U.S. military is the most powerful tool on earth, which helps keep us safe and promotes a stable, peaceful world.
We shouldn’t let activism and “wokeness” get in its way.
Christian Watson is a spokesman for Color Us United , and the host of “Pensive Politics with Christian Watson.”