When Blacks Push Racial Superiority -- Not Equality

by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET) June 1, 2017

America's long fight for racial equality, marked by both highs and lows, is taking a disturbing trend.

While the 2008 election of our first president of color was a high from which other highs should have evolved, we have since experienced several lows. Today, the fight has transitioned into one promoting new racial divisiveness.

The international standard for true racial equality evolved due to one of humanity's greatest mass murders - World War II's Holocaust. In 1948 all United Nations member states (except Saudi Arabia) approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which recognizes all human life equally. Despite the diversity of global legal and cultural backgrounds, signers realized the Holocaust's horrors demanded recognizing human life's sanctity.

While the UDHR set the standard, implementation proved more difficult - as America's 1960s/'70s racial tensions attest. Comedians such as the late Flip Wilson - the first successful black host of a television variety show - endeavored to put a humorous face on the issue.

Wilson told the story of a hard-charging Marine general who informed his men, in his Corps, there were no white Marines nor black Marines - all wore the same uniform and, therefore, were "green" Marines. After so admonishing them, the general then ordered, "Now, some of you dark green Marines come pick up this trash!"

By generating laughter, Wilson was able to plant the seed of truth about existing racial prejudice.

Later, another accomplished black comedian, Chris Rock, similarly used humor, subtly conveying the inequality message. He told jokes about why he would not want to be an astronaut, for if something went missing on the spacecraft, the black guy undoubtedly would be blamed. Additionally, he proferred, was reluctance to respond to Houston with, "Yes NASA; no NASA."

While racial equality is by no means a laughing matter, these comedians effectively got their audiences to think about the unfortunate stereotypes reflected in their jokes.

A major high for racial equality also occurring in 1948 was President Harry Truman's issuance of an executive order (EO) mandating desegregation of the military services. Segregated black units during World War II had demonstrated unquestionable competence. Air units, such as the Tuskegee Airmen, proved even better in protecting bomber aircraft flying over enemy territory.

The military does a good job, more so than other sectors in society, of promoting a unified team concept among members. Nowhere is this more evident than in combat, where achieving the team's mission and ensuring every members' survival is most important. Today, for those who don't survive, true integration is found in military cemeteries, where warriors' headstones memorialize wars fought on our behalf, not ethnicity.

One of the early beneficiaries of Truman's EO was Ensign Jesse Brown - the Navy's first black aviator. The story of his loss in 1950 underscores the strong equality-of-life bond that quickly evolved between warriors of differing races.

While supporting vastly outnumbered U.S. Marine forces on the ground in the famous Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, Brown came under intense fire, causing him to crash on a remote snow-covered mountaintop behind enemy lines. Wounded but still alive, he was trapped inside his burning aircraft.

Aware of Brown's predicament, fellow pilot Lt. j.g. Thomas Hudner took enemy forces, attempting to capture Brown, under fire. As flames on Brown's aircraft intensified, Hudner intentionally crash-landed his own plane near Brown's in an effort to rescue him. Unable to free him, Hudner collected snow to put atop the flames to retard their advance. He then radioed for helicopter rescue to bring an ax to cut Brown out.

Ultimately, a helicopter rescue was effected, but Brown died of his wounds. For his courageous actions, Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor.

While racial equality in the military has had its highs and lows, 20th century lows have, for the most part, been exceeded by 21st century highs. The latter include, for the Navy, advancement of the first African-American female admiral - Michelle Howard.

Men like Jesse Brown - born in the South to impoverished parents, who overcame prejudice and graduated as high school salutatorian - were trailblazers in the fight to make the UDHR more than just words on a piece of paper. His success in completing pilot training and sacrificing his life in Korea to help those Marines - both black and white - fighting to survive on the ground, as well as Hudner's efforts to save Brown, evidenced the combat warrior's equality-of-life bond.

However, a disturbing trend by race activists more recently is not to seek equality, demonstrating mutual respect for all life, which allegedly is being racist, but demanding superior valuation. That is a central theme for Black (only) Lives Matter - one creating division in the fight for humanity's equality.

Such thinking recently fueled division at Washington State's Evergreen State College campus.

Recognizing black community contributions, the school previously, and reasonably, established a "Day of Absence" - calling for students and faculty of color to meet off campus, leaving others to recognize their value by their absence. This was followed by a "Day of Presence" during which the entire campus community participated in equality-focused activities.

However, activists took the Day of Absence a step further this year, asking whites to leave campus - as blacks reportedly no longer felt safe doing so following the 2016 presidential election.

A white professor very respectfully objected. He rationally argued, while it is one thing for a group to decide "to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space," it is quite another to tell "another group to go away ... (as it) is a show of force and an act of oppression in and of itself." Sadly, the professor's comments and refusal to leave incited a student mob response. Now, the professor's safety on campus is at risk.

We can only hope the racial colorblindness combat warriors come to appreciate will one day be society's norm. But this demands no member - either of the minority or majority - play the superiority card. It only creates a speed bump to getting there.

A good place to start teaching this is Evergreen State College.

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A version of this piece also appeared on http://www.wnd.com/     

 

 

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking." He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.


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