|Spot the Token Black... wait, this isn't a movie|
Ours may be the only nation in human history not organized around a common language or religion or culture so much as a common set of civil ideals. And we have defined those ideals over time and through struggle as equality, opportunity, and fair play.
And let's not forget Cuba Gooding Jr.'s famous characterization of Dorie Miller in 2001’s Pearl Harbor, the Black cook who returned fire like every other American serviceman did during the Japanese attack but, because he was Black, became a national hero while valiantly overcoming the bigotry and racism from a character – played by Robert De Niro – who never even actually existed!
It' s a situation that hasn' t been lost on minority members of special-operations forces.
"Those that are perceived as the most elite will have the smallest minority representation," said Capt. Everett Greene, who recently retired as the top-ranking black officer in the Navy SEALs.
Why does it matter if a small segment of the otherwise racially diverse military has so few minority members?
It' s the special-operations forces' missions -- all overseas, often working with foreign governments and often in secret -- that make ethnic diversity a significant issue with the brass.
Top generals and admirals argue that having more minority troops would help bridge language and cultural differences that special-operations forces often encounter in foreign countries.
The dearth of minorities in the elite forces is a sign of a much larger and more serious problem facing America and its armed forces, say sociologists who specialize in the military.
In a democracy, the sociologists argue, the military should reflect of the civilian society -- in economic, cultural and racial diversity.
Today the military, particularly the Army, remains one of the few settings in which blacks routinely boss whites.
Blacks, Latinos, Asians, American Indians and other minorities now make up 34 percent of the military, greater than the 28.5 percent minority representation within the general U.S. population.
But the picture is very different in elite units.
The Army Special Forces, known by distinctive green berets, has 234 African-American officers and soldiers in a force of 5,200 men. Blacks make up 4.5 percent of the Green Berets, compared with nearly 24 percent of the male soldiers in the Army.
The Navy has only 31 blacks among its 2,299 Sea-Air-Land, or SEAL, commandos, less than 2 percent of the force. African-Americans constitute nearly 17 percent of the male personnel within the Navy.
And, the Air Force' s special-tactics groups have only eight blacks in a force of 472 men, less than 2 percent. Servicewide, about 14 percent of the Air Force' s male personnel are African-American.
Thankfully tax dollars are being spent to try and find Black candidates for the Navy SEALs who aren’t afraid of water:
The statistics have not improved significantly in recent years, despite heightened recruiting efforts.
The Naval Special Warfare Center is embarking on new marketing and awareness campaigns to reach more minority candidates who have the best odds of becoming Navy SEALs in the hope that those efforts will diversity the commando force.
The campaign is the latest move by Naval Special Warfare Command to boost its recruitment of minorities, particularly African-Americans, to attend the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course and follow-on SEAL Qualification Training and join the all-male community of special operators — one that historically has been largely white.
The campaign started Oct. 1, but much of the work is just beginning, said Rosemary Heiss, an NSW Recruiting Directorate spokeswoman in Coronado, Calif.
Naval Special Warfare Command hired three contractors for the diversity initiative, which will renew naval special warfare’s outreach to historically black colleges and universities; develop new marketing strategies that focus awareness, screening and recruiting efforts on minority communities; and develop research that identifies the traits of successful BUD/S candidates to hone recruiting.
“Each initiative has a different approach to get a candidate that we want. When you have a multifaceted approach, you start to mesh the different initiatives together to get more successful candidates,” Cmdr. Brodes Hartley, naval special warfare’s force diversity officer, said in a Navy Compass article.
Navy SEAL training is considered among the toughest in the military, with attrition rates from BUD/S average roughly 75 percent. But efforts in recent years, including an expanded recruitment effort and retooled preparatory course at the Naval Training Center in Great Lakes, Ill., are showing signs of easing attrition of potential SEAL and special warfare combatant-craft crewman candidates.
However, overall minority numbers still remain short of existing goals, and minority representation within NSW’s officer and enlisted communities remains much lower than what is reflected in the U.S. population.
Look, just do what the Naval Academy and U.S. Coast Guard Academy did and lower standards already!
Roughly 12.5 percent of the U.S. population is black, a number expected to rise to 13 percent by 2040, according to U.S. Census predictions. But only 10 percent of SEAL officers are minorities — with blacks representing 2 percent of officers — and minorities make up less than 20 percent of enlisted special warfare operators, according to a May contract solicitation for the pilot marketing and outreach program.
|The real Navy SEALs look like these guys|
Well, all right. That might be going a little far. Just recast Vin Diesel (who played a SEAL in The Pacifer) as the Token Black guy and then five white dudes and you’ve got a film. The fact that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted about getting a role in the inevitable film is what got us thinking about the SEAL TEAM 6 film. You just know the inevitable photo of the team that took out Osama isn’t going to be a picture that Deval Patrick would approve of as a BRA-approved, civil rights-type shot.
One of the Navy's elite warriors demonstrated his commitment to giving back to the local community when he paid a weeklong motivational visit to African American students at a local high school and college in Atlanta from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7.
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class David Goggins, a role model for African American youth, addressed Morehouse College's faculty and student body offering leadership strategies and tips on pushing past mental and physical limits. He also visited South West DeKalb County High School and Peachtree Ridge High School where he instructed students currently on the wrestling, swimming, and track and field teams on training exercises.
The students seemed to immediately connect with Goggins' honest and humble approach when he shared some of his experiences while serving as a SEAL.
"I'm just human, and I've had to learn my lessons just like everyone else," Goggins said.
He shared that he had to overcome the adversity of losing his father to murder.
"Sometimes I would hear people say 'Man, Goggins looks solid.', but they didn't know that I was really broken down inside," Goggins said. "I was able to push through that because I made a decision to push through -- for myself, my family and those fallen heroes. It's amazing how if you tell yourself you've made a decision to finish something, your body can reset itself -- the pain starts to go away."
Among Goggins' many physical feats is his ability to run 203 miles in 48 hours. Goggins is also no stranger to competing in "extreme" events like the Badwater 135-miler, a run routed through Death Valley. He has also competed in the Furnace Creek 508, which is a 508-mile bike race he completed in 41 hours. A testament to his endurance, Goggins said he often completed physical feats while battling injuries including broken feet, torn muscles and kidney failure.
He's training now for the Race Across America, which will take him 3,000 miles from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., in less than nine days. He trains for more eight hours a day -– with three broken ribs.
Read it and weep you suckers who thought Hollywood might give us this one. But at the same time, don’t forget to thank Johnston for disappointing us before we spent the ten bucks:
“We’re sort of putting a slightly different spin on Steve Rogers,” said Joe Johnston, whose past directing credits include “Jurassic Park III” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. “He’s a guy that wants to serve his country but he’s not a flag-waver. We’re reinterpretating sort of what the comic book version of Steve Rogers was.” …
“He wants to serve his country, but he’s not this sort of jingoistic American flag-waver,” Johnston said. “He’s just a good person. We make a point of that in the script: Don’t change who you are once you go from Steve Rogers to this super-soldier, you have to stay who you are inside, that’s really what’s important more than your strength and everything. It’ll be interesting and fun to put a different spin on the character and one that the fans are really going to appreciate.” …
Much, much more predictable heartbreak below the fold:
For Johnston, the imperative is artistic one, not a commercial one. He wants a character that’s more complicated than a flag and a movie that entertains without borders.
“Yeah and it’s also the idea that this is not about America so much as it is about the spirit of doing the right thing,” the director said. “It’s an international cast and an international story. It’s about what makes America great and what make the rest of the world great too.”
|Somehow, these two will be cast in Seal Team 6: The Osama Mission|
When it was recently announced that Derek Luke had a role in the upcoming Marvel film, 'Captain America: First Avenger,' many fans and websites were curious as to which character the 36 year-old New Jersey native would play since the studio hadn't mentioned it in numerous press releases on the film.
Luke will be playing one of Nick Fury's Howling Commando's, Gabe Jones, stated BlackFilm.com. Jones is remembered in the Marvel universe as a fierce fighter who always carried his trumpet into battle.
Other roles Luke was speculated for were a young Nick Fury, Fury's father Jack or Captain America's Avengers' partner Falcon.
As the first African-American to serve in an integrated unit, Jones is one of the close confidantes to Sergeant Nick Fury, who would later become the head of the organization S.H.I.E.L.D. Jones would later join him as an agent.