Black Women in the Military

A couple of days ago, I came across an interesting article in the newspaper.“Photo Controversy Highlights Black Women in Long Gray Line” looked at the uproar over 16 black women graduates of West Point, holding proud fists in the air. The article went on to discuss the overall presence of black women in the military, something very rarely talked about despite black women making up a large percentage of people of color serving our country.

The article gave insight into the homogenized world of the military and the fact that black women often must navigate double oppressions in a white male dominated space (racism and sexism).

As we approach Memorial Day, I thought the article showed the importance of giving homage to black women in the military. It has been noted that the first Memorial Day was started by former slaves. These women are a reminder that black folks have always held respect for soldiers, although we tend to be portrayed as anti-America. Besides Native/Indigenous folks, Black people are America. Majority of black folks like America, we just hate the white supremacy, racism, and anti-blackness that comes along with it. We tend to be oppressed in a country that demands our loyalty, but offers none in return.

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Happy Veterans Day 2013

While most of us loathe war (at least I hope so), we try to sympathize with our veterans/military folk. Plus, if you really study about people who join the military,  you understand many tend be low-income, undereducated, and/or come from communities of color.  They register with the service as a way to get out of bad situations, fund their education, or support their families. Poor women of color tend to be the most vulnerable to military recruitment. They also tend to receive the worst treatment while in the military. The list of grievances regarding racism, sexism, homophobia and sexual assault is long in the military.  Hell, you wouldn’t catch me signing up. But, these women do it the same as other folks, to earn money/build careers. Also, some women of color just like adventure. So, I give honor to all the veterans today, but especially women of color who go through so much in war zones and within the military.

Check out these resources about women of color in the military:

I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen–My Journey Home by Shoshana Johnson 

Home from the Military

Black Women Fallen Soldiers

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