Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rooting out Racism.

In a recent Editorial in The Day, it was asked “What must the Academy do to restore dignity and honor to the 130-year-old military school?" It must reassert its moral authority. It must re-take the moral high ground.

An infection must be treated quickly and aggressively. The problem of bigotry at the Academy has not gone away. On the contrary, the senior officer corps has been leading by example. They have shown the junior officers and the cadets how they want the Black cadets to be treated. (Keep your hands off the white girls and stay in your place.) That was supposed to be the practical lesson of the Webster Smith court-martial. But, it has gone much further than that.

The question was asked ”How did some twisted and cowardly person get away with leaving the threatening, offensive objects in a cadet’s personal belongings and in a staff member’s office?
Well, the answer is simple. He had help. He had assistance. He had an accomplice. Maybe not an active co-conspirator, but he was certainly helped by a sympathetic on-looker or two. Van Sice and Wisniewski blazed the trail and hinted for all men of like mind to follow.

Think about it. How did Adolf Hitler manage to exterminate 6 million Jews? The answer is simple and obvious “he had help”. He was helped by the majority of the ordinary good German people. The perpetrators of The Holocaust were many more than just the Gestapo and the German army. The German people had to assent to and contribute, in their own respective ways, to The Final Solution. Had Germany not been defeated, the Germans would have eliminated every single Jew in Europe. The Holocaust was the defining feature of German politics and the political culture of the Nazi period. It was the most shocking event of the twentieth century. The persecution of the Jews culminating in the Holocaust was the central focus of the entire German population during the Nazi period because of what it meant to the entire German population at the time. Ordinary Germans became Hitler’s willing accomplices. They accepted Hitler’s ideas of white, Aryan racial superiority and minority racial inferiority. And they marched with him right out of the community of “civilized nations”.

The world is in greater peril from good people who sit back and do nothing in the face of escalating evil than from a few bigots. All right thinking people should care enough to stay informed. Don't ever let yourself become deluded into thinking that this is not your fight. I remind you of what Pastor Neimoller said in World War II: "First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me".

The court-martial of Webster Smith was similar to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. The parallels between the two are frightening. It was the central focus of the Coast Guard Academy legal staff and senior officer corps for two years. The majority of the population of Connecticut acquiesced. Not one voice was lifted in dissent. It was celebrated as a worthwhile accomplishment. It sent a message. The quotes in the New London and Norwich papers were jubilant. The Letters to the Editor were in total agreement. These two noose incidents can be liken to The Kristall Nacht (Crystal Night) of the Nazi Era.
Kristall Nacht, November 1938, turns out to be a crucial turning point in German policy regarding the Jews and may be considered as the actual beginning of what is now called the Holocaust.

"No man can struggle with advantage against the spirit of his age and country, and however powerful a man may be, it is hard for him to make his contemporaries share feelings and ideas which run counter to the general run of their hopes and desires." (Alexis de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America). Indeed, the court-martial of Webster Smith tapped into a deep reservoir of anger and resentment that Wisniewski had appealed to.

A house divided against its’ self cannot stand.

As the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, this is what you must do. You must re-take the moral high ground. You have lost the moral high ground. You have an albatross around your neck. You command America’s Humanitarian Service, the Coast Guard. Speak up. Make your thoughts and feelings known. Set the tone. Define the cadence. Plot the course. Lead, and we will follow. Speak Truth to action.

Until you act decisively, Admiral Allen, you will continue to be a part of the problem. I want you to become a major part of the solution. You are the tip of the spear. It all starts with you. You specialize in managing events that have no precedent. You never get angry. You never get emotionally involved.

However, you do not control the System, but you are in the driver’s seat. Just as a car does not drive its’ self, the Coast Guard does not drive its self. It must be driven. It must be guided from point A to B; or, at least, pointed in the right direction. That is what leaders do. They speak TRUTH to action. That is what I am asking you to do now. Speak Truth to action. Please, take the lead. You must order The Court of Military Review and the Office of Civil Rights to take immediate steps to decide the criminal and the civil rights appeals in the Webster Smith case in their respective offices. Order them to make the right decision.

At the Academy on 8 September 2006, you did not mention the Webster Smith Case; but, while talking with reporters, you said THE PROCESS used to deal with the issue worked as it should have. No, Admiral, it did not. It should be obvious to every reasonable person today that the Process has run amok. It has not worked as it should have. We are sinking deeper and deeper into a cess pool of racial bigotry. People in positions of power, are using their positions of public trust to impliment policies rooted in their own personal bias. We must act now to root out racism.

It is not too late. Your house is coming apart. Do something. We are with you. We look to you, The Correct Answer Man, the correct answer. I am asking you again, let the healing begin.



Blogger ichbinalj said...

In this editorial about the Noose found in the Black Cadet's bag you have mentioned my Son 1st Class Cadet Webster Smith's court-martial and civil rights complaint in the same context. The Court-martial is in the Appellate Court and the 400 page investigation of the civil rights complaint is in another court. Webster Smith was found not guilty of rape, there is no need for appeal on that charge. Out of the 21 charges filed, the court of appeals has not yet ruled on the four convictions before them, and neither has the The Dept. of Homeland Security ruled on the contents of the 400 page investigation report sent to them by the Dept. of Civil Rights at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington DC. As American citizens we will continue to respect the Judicial system and follow the proper chain of command to be heard in a court of law. Respectfully Submitted,
Belinda Smith

6:38 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

I believe that it is also worth noting that, as Mrs. Smith pointed out, not only was her son, Webster Smith, ACQUITTED of the rape charge (of a female cadet with whom he had been in a romantic and consensual relationship for over two years - including after the alleged “rape”), that charge had been forwarded to court martial, by Admiral Van Sice, AGAINST the recommendation of the Article 32 hearing. The press should have reported that fact with as much zeal as they threw around the label “accused rapist”.

6:39 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Do you really think DHS will admit its faults in either case? This happened two months ago! It is only noticed now because someone brought it to the attention of the press. The Coast Guard and its Academy has white washed and swept for years...the next step, when they get caught white washing and sweeping, is to have someone's head to show the world that they mean business. Women are sexually assaulted there often, racism is prevalent and often handled jokingly by the black population. There will not be another court-martial for sexual assault until they have another kid that looks like he may be menacing in his black choker. Don't believe me? They had a chance to rectify that with the John Miller Case...alleged events happened off campus just like Smith's case did but this time the Coast Guard wanted nothing to do with it and that kid will walk free because civilian courts are real courts, not political platforms. P.S. The average time for DHS to handle a civil rights claim is 773 days. Jim, would you wait that long?
Informed Party

6:41 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Attitude starts at the top and trickles down. In this case the Academy superintendent, Rear Adm. Burhoe evidently thought the racial incidents would quietly go away. If he didn't feel this way he would not have waited two months to ask to have the incidents investigated by the CGIS and only after the incidents became public knowledge. Adm. Allen should address the entire student body and make it very clear that the CGA and the CG Service, as well as society in general, does not need, or want you (the perpetrator). It should also be made abundantly clean to everyone at the Academy that if you commit anti-social acts there will be severe consequences, not just a hand slapping. It may be impossible to change someone's inner feelings but if they realize there will be conseguences to their actions they may be more inclined to act in a socially acceptable manner.
New London, CT

7:17 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

James D. Watson, who shared the 1962 Nobel prize for deciphering the double-helix of DNA, apologized “unreservedly” yesterday for comments reported the week of 13 Oct 2007 suggesting that Black people, over all, are not as intelligent as whites.

In an interview published Sunday 13 Oct in The Times of London, Dr. Watson is quoted as saying that while “there are many people of color who are very talented,” he is “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa.”

“All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
(Bloomberg News)

5:31 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

There is wide agreement among researchers on intelligence that genetic inheritance influences mental acuity, but there is also wide agreement that life experiences, even in the womb, exert a powerful influence on brain structure. Further, there is wide disagreement about what intelligence consists of and how — or even if — it can be measured in the abstract.

For example, in “The Mismeasure of Man,” Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist, dismissed “the I.Q. industry” as little more than an effort by men of European descent to maintain their prominence in the world.

5:34 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Dr. Watson, 79, is hardly the first white researcher to assert that inherited characteristics like skin color are correlated to intelligence and that people of African descent fall short. For example, William B. Shockley, a Nobel laureate for his work with transistors, in later life developed ideas of eugenics based on the supposed intellectual inferiority of Blacks.

His ideas were greeted with scorn, and Dr. Watson is encountering a similar reaction. According to the BBC, the Science Museum of London canceled a speech Dr. Watson was to have given there 19 Oct 2007, saying that much as it supports robust discussion of controversial ideas, Dr. Watson’s assertions on race and intelligence are “beyond the point of acceptable debate.”

Henry Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists, a private group that works to bring science to policy making, said it was “tragic that one of the icons of modern science has cast such dishonor on the profession.”
(Bloomberg News)

5:38 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

International Herald Tribune - France
(The Associated Press) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2007
Lawyers for a former cadet who was the first student court-martialed in the 130-year history of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's are seeking to reverse his convictions for sexual misconduct.

10:41 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Thomas Jackson, a North Carolina college professor and Civil Rights leaders, wrote : I was recently asked to comment on the Coast Guard Academy Noose incidents on several blogs, and sometimes I just write something worth sharing on my own blog.

"The noose story is not the epicenter of Coast Guard Civil Rights issues. Equal Civil Rights are the story. The Coast Guard must and we think they will come to terms with this issue and others confronting the service. Leadership is the key to unlocking binds that hold progress in Equal Civil Rights back. Admiral Thad Allen is searching for the key with all his energy, but his staff expends ten times the energy hiding the key in a new location each time he gets close. We continue to follow the story of one brave civil servant in the employee of Admiral’s Allen’s Coast Guard. In standing up for what was right, and just and certainly would have been equal application of Civil Rights this employee has experienced the very wrath of reprisal and discrimination. As he continues to stand for what it right, we will continue to support him. A great man once said:

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our man is holding on to the dream and not passively accepting defeat."


11:55 AM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

22 Jul 2008. Two Coast Guard Academy cadets were arrested Sunday morning after a domestic squabble outside a strip club, police said.
The third-year cadets, Leanna R. Minton and Keenan Prather, were held overnight and presented in New London Superior Court on Monday. They were released after prosecutor Peter A. McShane said the state would not be prosecuting the case.
Police said the pair were involved around 3:30 a.m. in a “domestic dispute” in the parking lot of the Gold Club on Route 12, police said.
Minton, 21, had been charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace. Prather, 21, was charged with breach of peace.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Doss said the students have not been suspended or expelled.
Doss said the strip club was not on a list that restricts where cadets can go. He also said that juniors and seniors are allowed to date within their own class. The Coast Guard, he said, would conduct its own internal investigation.
”Anytime anybody gets in trouble off base they are subject to punishment on the military side of things,” said Doss.

3:14 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

ALEXANDRIA, La., Aug 15, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and Donald W. Washington, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, today announced that Jeremiah Munsen, 19, of Pineville, La., was sentenced to four months in prison for his role in using nooses to threaten marchers who participated in the "Jena Six" civil rights rally. In addition to the four-month prison term, Munsen received one year of supervised release and 125 hours of community service.
On Sept. 20, 2007, in an incident that garnered national media attention, Munsen and another person allegedly attached the nooses to the back of a pickup truck and repeatedly drove slowly and menacingly past a large group of African American individuals who had gathered at a bus depot in Alexandria, La., after attending the civil rights rally in Jena.
The defendant pleaded guilty April 25, 2008, admitting that he displayed two large, life-sized nooses from the back of his pickup truck with the intent to frighten and intimidate the demonstrators.

7:04 PM  
Blogger ichbinalj said...

Bill OK'd to increase Blacks at Coast Guard Academy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The House voted overwhelmingly for a bill that includes a provision giving members of Congress a say over who is admitted to the U.S. Coast Guard's 1,000-cadet service academy in New London, Conn.

The measure — part of a multi-billion-dollar authorization bill that passed 385-11 on Friday — was sponsored by Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., who argues that congressional nominations are needed to help increase the number of Blacks enrolled at the CGA and graduate as commissioned officers.

The CGA is the only service academy that does not have congressional nominations and has no requirements for geographical distribution.

Four Blacks graduated in the spring. More recently, five Blacks were admitted for the Class of 2013. At present, its four classes include 25 Blacks.

4:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home