Bruce Fleming has been an English professor at the United States Naval Academy for twenty-two years and has served as a member of USNA’s Admissions Board. He has expressed concerns over the Academy’s admissions process which he strongly believes places too much emphasis on racial diversity at the cost of quality students. He explains these concerns as follows:


Here’s a question: would you rather be defended by the officer with high all-around predictors (including leadership and athletics in addition to grades and test scores), or low ones? I bet you think I’m joking when I say that at the Unites States Naval Academy, we let in the ones with the low scores and reject the ones with the high. As a taxpayer, I object to that.

We do this to ensure that we get students who self-identify as racial minorities. “Diversity is our number one priority” at the Naval Academy, as the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead and the superintendent of the Naval Academy Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler have both said. Of course, this is a technical use of “diversity,” having nothing to do with age, with skills, with temperaments, with gender or sexual orientation, but only with skin color. In June of 2009 came the stunning boast that the class of 2013 is the “most diverse ever” at 35% minority. At the same time I’m getting e-mails from the parents of stellar white students who have been rejected to make this possible. We tend to forget the ones who aren’t there: I don’t.

It’s a two-track system: whites have to excel to get in, non-whites don’t have to. They just have to be non-white. And their seat, once taken, is thus denied the stellar one. In the long run this has to dilute the quality of the Navy. That’s scary. It’s also immoral. At the Naval Academy in Annapolis and arguably in the military, we’re back to the childhood I remember on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, with separate water fountains for the “colored people.” Only the water fountains for non-whites now are much better than those for the whites. Is this the way our “post-racial” Obama society was meant to play out?

We let in students by two tracks: one is based on a basket of skills and is intended to get the strongest all-around candidates. Because this system would pull in very few minorities, we’ve instituted a second track whose intention is specifically to ensure the presence of minority midshipmen. Minority applications are briefed separately to the Admissions Board, let in “direct” to USNA over a lowered bar or sent to our hand-holding revolving door remedial school if really weak. We send them for tutoring, let them take courses over, and assign them to majors we think they can pass. Many graduate, though at about a 10% lower rate than the Brigade as a whole (which includes them, so the real split is greater). We’re in an “anything it takes” mode to get them, and in an “anything it takes” mode to keep them: success is defined as getting them and keeping them, at any price.

This elimination of the necessity to achieve high predictors echoes the case with the New Haven firefighters on which Judge Sonia Sotomayor issued her now-famous ruling that was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week. If not enough minority applicants get over the bar, you lower it—or eliminate it altogether. That’s what we’ve done. USNA administration officials have said in public that “SAT scores are not good predictors for minority students.” But we do use low SAT scores (below 600) as a way to eliminate white candidates. Not the minority ones.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your military. In the wake of the AIG meltdown it seemed that American taxpayers suddenly became aware that what was okay on private money wasn’t okay on the taxpayer dime. Many people felt that the ones paying for it should get a say in how it was run. The military has always been run, 100%, on the taxpayer dime (or rather, the taxpayer’s hundreds of millions of dollars). In addition, unlike AIG, it exists for the sole purpose of defending those taxpayers. Yet all too often the military acts as if it thinks it’s working on its own money, and exists for itself. This business of affirmative action at the Naval Academy and in the fleet is such an issue.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the whole deal is that the military is lying to the taxpayers about what it’s doing—misdirecting by throwing up a dust screen of irrelevancies designed to get people off their track or out and out misstating facts.

The USNA Dean of Admissions was quoted in the Baltimore Sun last year as saying “we don’t lower standards for minorities.” I suppose if you twist that enough it’s just misleading, rather than a lie: we don’t “lower” (as a verb) because the standards for minorities are already “lower” (adjective). We’ll guarantee admission to a black candidate with B and C grades, no particular leadership or academics, and SAT scores of 540 on each part. A white candidate like that is voted “not qualified.” The black one is voted “qualified”. A “qualified” (to a lower standard) minority candidate has a seat reserved; a “qualified” white candidate competes with other “qualified” ones for the remaining seats. If they’re not even this qualified, we send them to Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS), which is overwhelmingly minority. Here they are ‘remediated’ for a year, and the system rigged to ensure they come to Annapolis, taking a seat the next year. There is almost no bottom to what we’ll take for minority applicants through NAPS.

All minorities are let in over a lower bar, and most would never be admitted competitively; some are far lower than the bar for white candidates. However this doesn’t mean that all minority midshipmen are weak; I’ve had some stellar ones in my career. However they all got in ‘direct’ (which white applicants don’t): lowering the bar doesn’t mean all needed it that low.

None of this is written down, it’s just the game rules I learned on the Admissions Board. We were told not to write anything down because “everything is “FOI”able”— it can be demanded under the Freedom of Information Act.

After being on the Admissions Board, I understood a lot of what I’d seen in the classroom. I realized that there was a close to 100% correlation between the students who just couldn’t get basic concepts and couldn’t express themselves and those who either had been recruited to play sports like football and basketball, or who had checked a box saying they were Hispanic or African-American.

The Naval Academy has engaged in blatant race-tracking for years, but never with any justification. Then in March of 2008 the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) issued a “diversity policy” that has been cited repeatedly when “affirmative action” is questioned. The document signed by the CNO is unexceptionable, and raises no eyebrows. Of course not. This is the written form of the intent, which here is being kept purposely bland: this could be easily challenged in court. The question then becomes, how is it understood and put into practice? Similarly, The CNO’s “diversity policy” begins as follows: “Diversity has made our Nation and Navy stronger. To derive the most from that diversity, every individual, military or civilian, must be encouraged and enabled to reach his or her full potential.” Who can disagree with that? But isn’t that just the opposite of race-tracking and separate water fountains?

Even if it’s illegal, it might be we could understand why it’s a good idea, somehow, in some form. Only the military isn’t good at providing justification. We’re told the navy has to “look like” the general population (i.e. non-white). But actually the enlisted corps already does. What they mean is, the officer corps has to be just as non-white as the enlisted corps. Why is that? Who says a black male soldier relates better to a black or Hispanic female officer than to a white male one? Does this mean that white soldiers need white officers? None of this is explained or justified, and the taxpayers are paying the military’s salaries to defend them.

This is the demand for justification that I’m issuing here. In the military, none of it happens. We decide what we’re going to do, keep it secret if possible and in any case “inside the walls,” as the military says. We assert loudly that what we do is serving the policy, and that’s the end of the story. Only it isn’t. The military is here to protect the Constitution. They need to be reminded that they can’t violate it.


For more about Bruce Fleming, his book about the Naval Academy “Annapolis Autumn” and the forthcoming “Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide: What Each Side Needs to Know About the Other, and About Itself,” visit his web site at www.brucefleming.net. A longer consideration of the Naval Academy experience from the perspective of students is currently on www.sftt.org.




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  • LT B

    Tenure is an amazing thing! It allows the professor to speak out. Let me go on the record and say that I am pro-diversity. I have lived my life surrounded with members of many different races. In my high school, whites were the minority.

    That said, the Navy, and perhaps the nation is approaching diversity incorrectly IMHO. Do not lower the standards, keep them high, boost those w/in reach up to them. If you are looking at college age issues, you have started too late.

    Minorities in America, under perform, statistically speaking. Why is that? Are they disadvantaged? Some are, some aren’t. Is that White kid from the TN Valley disadvantaged? The kid living in a trailer park in some podunk town in America? Yes. I don’t buy that the Man is keeping the minority down. I buy the minority is keeping the minority down.

    What do I mean? My girlfriend from high school is Black. She spoke well, was forced to do her homework, etc. Her mom was an educator and stressed education. As it turns out, she, among others that were equally driven, were considered OREOS, White Wannabees, etc.

    Remember when Mr. Obama had announced his candidacy? What was one of the topics in the news? “Is Barrack Obama Black enough?” I also heard Condi Rice deal w/ a similar question, to which she responded, “I’ve been Black my whole life, I do not need to wonder what that means.” or something to that effect. Start sooner, start younger, bust the meme that says that to be educated and speak properly is to be shunned w/in the minority communities. Do not lower standards, raise all up to them. Lying about it doesn’t help. I believe there is something we talk about in the Navy, let me think…

    Honor, Courage, Commitment. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  • A. Johns

    It is my understanding that the final decision for appointments is left up to the Congressman and Senators. Since the House and Senate are now controlled by the Democrats it stands to reason that this incoming class would have a higher level of “diversity” than the past.

    I am left wondering if that is the real issue for Cdr. Salamander and Prof. Fleming?

    Concerning the original question,

    “Here’s a question: would you rather be defended by the officer with high all-around predictors (including leadership and athletics in addition to grades and test scores), or low ones? ”

    It is an improper question. I want to be defended by leaders who can think, which means that they understand what it means to defend an individuals right to his life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. Not leaders who are willing to serve a cause higher than oneself.

    In other words, I want my leaders to be rationally self-interested.

  • sid

    It is an improper question.

    It was the question asked…Nobody asked you if it was “proper” or not.

    In other words, I want my leaders to be rationally self-interested.

    “A John.” How does this relate to Diversity Policy at the USNA?

    See if you can stick with the conversation at hand, and not steer it into yet another detour into what you are consumed by.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    Per Sid,

    Please stay on topic

  • Total

    “Here’s a question: would you rather be defended by the officer with high all-around predictors (including leadership and athletics in addition to grades and test scores), or low ones?”

    Do you have evidence that shows the things listed do actually predict performance in combat?

  • sid

    Do you have evidence that shows the things listed do actually predict performance in combat?

    The criteria certainly are predictors of whether or not a student will be sucessful at the USNA.

    So Jay. How does a dual track admissions process based on color…or more accurately, what boxes get checked on forms…in any way make either the chances of succeeding at the USNA, or the likelihood of ensuring more ability in combat leadership any more a sure thing?

  • jim

    Affirmative Action is state-sponsored racism. It is immoral and actively evil. It violates the core principles of this nation.

    In the military it’s even worse since it also endangers the nation. The Navy should be ashamed of itself.

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    “All minorities are let in over a lower bar, and most would never be admitted competitively.”

    This is some pretty inflammatory rhetoric. This is the type of ASSERTION that demands evidence, and Professor Fleming is on the hook to provide it. I curiously await his response.

    V/R,

  • sid

    Navy Times has an article up that is right timely

    “There is definitely some direct associations with who is commanding you,” said retired Capt. Bernard Jackson, president of the National Naval Officers Association, which helps minority officers develop their careers. “To be able to see[yourself] in the organization, it plays a strong part to have younger individuals stay.”

    This is a perpetuation of racism pure and simple. How come the good Captain isn’t out trying to sell the USN to those of the preferred ethnic origin who possess the predictors that are required of the whites?

    And, should not those sailors and marines be trained to identify with THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, as each has sworn to do, instead of being more likely to follow someone from [pick a neighborhood]. Heck Captain, lets just man up according to gang colors.

  • Total

    “The criteria certainly are predictors of whether or not a student will be sucessful at the USNA.”

    They would be, wouldn’t they? The institution is looking for things that will make people successful at that institution.

    That’s not the same thing as testing for things that reveal a stronger ability in actual military operations. Does the Professor have evidence that the entry requirements lead to the creation of better officers?

    (For example, historically speaking, do those who have did better at the Naval Academy do better in combat?)

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Additionally, if I understand the admissions process correctly, there are midshipmen that demographically categorized as being in the “majority” that do not enter the competitive pool and are granted appointment directly as well. Does Professor Fleming disagree with this policy?

    V/R,

  • A. Johns

    I agree with Sid,

    “And, should not those sailors and marines be trained to identify with THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, as each has sworn to do, instead of being more likely to follow someone from [pick a neighborhood].”

    Which means being pro-reason so I was indeed on topic. Is there evidence that shows that those individuals with high all-around predictors can identify with “The Constituion of the United States”? Why can’t individuals with low predictors not identify with “The Constitution of the United States”?

  • sid

    That’s not the same thing as testing for things that reveal a stronger ability in actual military operations.

    Thats what the 4 years at the Academy should be for!! Such an evaluation is well beyond the scope of any quantitative admissions test administered to a teenager.

  • sid

    Which means being pro-reason so I was indeed on topic.

    No you weren’t A. You interejcted “rational self-interest.”

    And you are only partially right now. Folks of all beliefs are capable of “Reason.”

    And besides, many adhere to the Constitution in emotional ways.

    Lets see how long we can keep this away from the dreary digression that has shut down two discussion threads.

  • A. Johns

    Sid,

    Let’s focus on what we agree on which is the fact that Midshipmen should be able to identify with the Constitution of the United States.

    What evidence is there that an individual with higher all-around predictors will identify with the Constitutiion as opposed to an individual with lower predictors?

  • sid

    What evidence is there that an individual with higher all-around predictors will identify with the Constitutiion as opposed to an individual with lower predictors?

    None. As that is not what the admissions criteria measure.

    What is expected of subordinates is a matter of Leadership.

  • A. Johns

    And what evidence is there that those individuals with lower predictors can not be leaders as opposed to those individuals with higher predictors?

    More importantly what standards are required to be a leader and how does the Naval Academy measure th0se standards and compare it to its admissions criteria?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    So, how is it that discrimination based on racial or ethnic quotas used to be evil but now is a good thing?

  • Total

    “So, how is it that discrimination based on racial or ethnic quotas used to be evil but now is a good thing?”

    When it was used to keep *out* certain minority groups, it was bad. When it is used to make sure that certain minority groups are well-represented, it’s good.

    USNA keeping blacks out: bad. USNA making sure to make up for its past discrimination: good.

    Any other questions?

  • A. Johns

    Total,

    I have to disagree. It is altruistic to make today’s generation pay for the mistakes of past generations.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Total,

    You should call yourself “partial”. As in “biased”. Or “bigoted”, if you prefer.

    White males are a minority of the population. Far fewer than 50%. So the USNA policy must be bad.

  • sid

    USNA keeping blacks out: bad. USNA making sure to make up for its past discrimination: good.

    So in order to expiate the sins of generations past, the USN must reduces its stnadards of admissions to only select groups who check a certain box on certain forms.

    And explicitly exclude others of an unfavored ethnic origin to do so….

    Total, that is total hypocrysy. And, if I’m not mistaken a form of “affirmative action” that has been struck down as unconstitutional.

    But lets just say, that your inane idea were to h avfe some merit…That means 60 years from now, whites will have to be favored over those groups put in front of the line now.

    Just a stupid notion all the way around.

  • A. Johns

    Sid, once again I agree with you. It is too bad you don’t see that the original question is just as stupid.

    Good Day, Gentlemen.

    I’ll tune in next Thursday, and maybe we can all jump on the wheel of diversity issue once again.

  • http://www.michaelspinosa.com Michael Spinosa

    It’s ridiculous that this is under any type of back and forth debate. The issue is this relentless pursuit of trying to “right a wrong” which is impossible. One set of standards for the academy and that’s excellence. The future leaders of our country and armed forces are decided by a rigorous set of criteria for a reason.

    How do the minority candidates accepted to the academy feel about this? I wouldn’t even take the acceptance letter if I knew that I was “less” than other men or women that applied. Quite frankly, I’d be overwhelmed with shame. I’m also certain that those that have truly earned their way (minority students) don’t want to be stereotyped as a “special acceptance” when they’ve really made all the sacrifices to attend the academy. Think about the impact this is having on them from a self-confidence and not to mention peer perspective.

    It’s a dangerous time when the “Pursuit of Happiness” is provided to people that haven’t earned it at the expense of those who have done what’s necessary. Very dangerous.

  • Total

    For those of you warbling on about how current generations shouldn’t have to pay back past generations, I assume that means that you support voiding the national debt, getting rid of all veterans’ pensions, social security, and so on?

    In any case, the push for diversity is not just based on the righting past wrongs idea, though that’s a powerful one. It’s also based on 1) ensuring that the military reflects the society it comes from, 2) the recognition that standardized testing tends not to measure minorities particularly well, and 3) the idea that having a more diverse officer corps will make for a more effective *warfighting* military.

    On the flip side is the argument that the entry requirements predict better performance at the Naval Academy, with no evidence presented that such performance actually translates into more effective officers in actual wars. So I ask again for that evidence.

  • CDR Lumpy

    A scholarly outsiders view of our diversity in the Navy and the military overall, circa 2004.

    “With the end of military conscription in 1973, the armed forces have become the nation’s largest employer and reflect America’s racial, ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic diversity. Indeed, African Americans are drawn to it as a more color-blind employer than they are likely to find in the civilian labor market.”

    http://www.prb.org/Source/ACF1396.pdf

    Which causes one to wonder; what’s the issue in 2009?

    This move by the CNO is a bad precedent. Because as noted above, minorities are serving at a higher percentage due to the military being a color-blind employer. If this changes and the military becomes a color-based employer, what will be the ramifications of that be to the Navy?

  • sid

    It is altruistic to make today’s generation pay for the mistakes of past generations.

    Nonsequitir yet again A. Guess you just can’t help yourself.

    This has nothing to do with “altruism”. It is however, a corrosive policy that will only manifest racial ethnic divides in a society that has demographically evolved beyond the problem it is supposed to address.

    This is the America I see in 2009, filled with plenty of kids “of color” -or whatever- who are smoking their peers in just the areas the Academy desires.

    If the USN isn’t attracting them, then it might just be because such bright folks may see the sham and want no part of it.

  • sid

    More here

    Being a bit “mixed” myself, somebody decided that when I was put up for adoption as a newborn, checking the “white” box was the best thing for me. Of course, it was in an era that the picture above was common. I am old enough to remember seeing those water fountains, and the third “colored” bathrooms.

    I got out after my first enlistment, right into the teeth of the ’70s economic malaise. I found it right ironic when I was told I couldn’t apply for a job because I, “wasn’t black.” Turns out that it was a federally underwritten job, and quotas had to be filled.

    Wanted to ask the guy just where he thought I got my expansive ‘fro (it was the ’70s)…

    That was decades ago. Now the Navy is very much fight “the last war” on race. In the end, it will turn out to be a loss.

  • sid

    2) the recognition that standardized testing tends not to measure minorities particularly well,

    Total Browse through these 71 photos again

    How many “whites” versus all others do you see?

    the idea that having a more diverse officer corps will make for a more effective *warfighting* military.

    How so?

  • B.Keith Cossey

    Defending the Constitution and the people who are heirs of it… was my primary responsibility as a Marine Corps sergeant in Viet Nam. However, my consititutional rights were abridged when I went through boot camp and when I, later, became part of a chain-of-command. The Universal Code of Military Justice was and is a modification of the U.S. Constitution; in essence, it is a legal sacrifice on our part so that we may “seize the day” in the ever-potential combat environment.

    I obtained my bachelor’s degree (after Viet Nam, on the G.I. Bill, with the help of my wife’s employment and a scholarship from Norwich University With Highest Honors. However, my previous combat ability did not derive from any academic ability (I was a mediocre student in high school and during my early forays into studies at Michigan State—before I volunteered for two years of active duty out of my Reserve unit). My eventual academic ability derived from my combat ability and experience. History, philosophy, and political science were no longer “dry,” lifeless subjects for me.

    In short, I got a break getting into college that other white males like myself did not get—the financial wherewithal of the G.I. Bill. I did not get this form of financial “affirmative action” because of my skin color but rather because of my military experience.

    Several studies have shown that, in Viet Nam, U.S. ground officers trained in non-elite ROTC programs were more successful combat leaders than were those officers trained in the service academies. People skills are at least as important as are SAT scores in predicting success—not necessarily in the academies—(but) in combat. Prior to the Civil War, Grant and Sherman attended West Point but were not “successful” in their class rankings.

    We warriors sweat in peace so that we need not bleed in war. However, you won’t find “sweat” as a category on the SAT. Keep the diversity. It goes beyond diversity of skin color. If some white scholar must swallow his pride and go through NROTC or the Platoon Leadership Program instead of Annapolis, let him suck it up. The ultimate place to excel is on the battlefield, and the sacrifices of the battlefield analogously start here and now.

  • sid

    Keep the diversity. It goes beyond diversity of skin color.

    Thats the whole rub. It ends with skin color for the dual track admissions into the Academy.

    Diversity of experience? Won’t argue on that one…

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Like I always say, there is a difference between diversity and Diversity. One is good, the other is a cancer.

  • Dave

    sid Says:
    2) the recognition that standardized testing tends not to measure minorities particularly well,
    Total Browse through these 71 photos again…
    How many “whites” versus all others do you see?

    However, I am positive that some of those Valedictorians do not have a 600 Verbal and a 600 Math SAT. There are high school Valedictorians at the Naval Academy who don’t. To Dr Fleming, they are “NOT QUALIFIED”. His only criteria to measure worth is the SAT or ACT score.

    Sid says ” Diversity of experience? Won’t argue that one…” Take a look at the 71 pictures again. Do you think there is some diversity of experience there? I do.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “If some white scholar must swallow his pride and go through NROTC or the Platoon Leadership Program instead of Annapolis, let him suck it up.”

    So discrimination based on skin color is not only okay, but a good thing, as long as those being discriminated against are white.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Too bad “victory at sea” isn’t the Navy’s first priority any more.
    Why isn’t it?

    Back in my day intelligence, dedication, determination, drive, endurance and holding the respect of subordinates were thought to be the best predictors of officer level success in tactics, combat operations and strategy. When did that change?

    Is there a mixed race – no dominant proportion block? If there isn’t and Tiger Wood’s kid applies, what block does the kid check? More seriously, as the number of persons of mixed race as a proportion of the population continues to increase what will the policy be?

    I’m so confused these days.

  • Bucherm

    @Sid:

    That link you posted is largely meaningless, as it’s tracking the students in the top 5% graduating class(as opposed to standardize tests) of a school district where only a hot 7.8% of the student population is identified as “white”. Unless you’re trying to prove that minorities can only reach the upper limit of the graduating class(again, no word about standardize testing) if whites do not make up a plurality of the school district?

  • sid

    That link you posted is largely meaningless, as it’s tracking the students in the top 5% graduating class(as opposed to standardize tests) of a school district where only a hot 7.8% of the student population is identified as “white”.

    You are attempting to evade the immutable fact that those kids were the product of the standardized test driven, “No Child Left Behind” concept. As a matter of fact, HISD was Ground Zero. TAKS is TAKS in Texas.

    Those kids won those honors on their own merit. It is you making the implication that they somehow could not have done as well if there were more whites in their schools.

    Second: Thanks for providing numbers which show how America is no longer a majority white society. If the USN is not pulling in numbers reflecting the demographic then it is first and foremost a case of those kids turning it down as a viable alternative.

  • B. Walthrop

    Michael Spinosa says:

    “It’s a dangerous time when the “Pursuit of Happiness” is provided to people that haven’t earned it at the expense of those who have done what’s necessary. Very dangerous.”

    You are the dangerous one. The Declaration of Independence declared the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental RIGHT afforded to all men.

    I believe this to be true, and as a RIGHT is not subject to be earned.

    There is something fundamentally wrong when admission to USNA is viewed as the “Pursuit of Happiness.” If this is the view of any graduate (not applicant) then this is the issue that needs to be addressed.

    V/R,

  • B. Walthrop

    B. Walthrop said:

    “The Declaration of Independence declared the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as a fundamental RIGHT afforded to all men.”

    This is incorrect. What I should have said was:

    The Declaration of Independence recognized that the pursuit of life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental RIGHT inherent to all humans.

    This is the philosophy that I hold to be true, and the fact remains that Michael Spinosa’s view is the dangerous one.

    RIGHTS are not subject to being “earned” from anyone. This is the path to slavery and tyranny.

    I reject the original statement, as well as my poorly worded response. The following stands on its own merits:

    There is something fundamentally wrong when admission to USNA is viewed as the “Pursuit of Happiness.” If this is the view of any graduate (not applicant) then this is the issue that needs to be addressed.

    V/R,

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “There is something fundamentally wrong when admission to USNA is viewed as the “Pursuit of Happiness.” ”

    Then why was the exclusion of African-Americans such a big deal?

    The silence in addressing the double standard is thunderous.

  • http://steeljawscribe.com/ SteelJaw

    Front page of the Local section in the Post today – and comments are already over 5 pages in length.
    – SJS

  • UltimaRatioReg

    SJS,

    Link INOP.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    URR:

    A double standard? Admissions standards at that institution seem to be a set of nested russian dolls, what with athletes of a byzantine hierarchy of sports, women, races, ethnic groups, gender (oh, its coming, just wait), children of alumni, the congressman’s second wife’s son in law’s kid etc, etc.

    Fortunately, NROTC is pretty much too insignificant in the eyes of the USNASPA to bother with, so an input stream to commissioning which resembles selection on the basis of merit remains open.

    So things aren’t completely hopeless.

    Keep up the good fight.

  • http://steeljawscribe.com/ SteelJaw
  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    Chap —- linky to quotey?

    Opps, my bust. Here it is.

  • Bon’Fire

    Does the Diversity at the U.S. Naval Academy apply to Natural Born citizens and Native Born citizens? Does it require a Certification of Live Birth or a Birth Certificate for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy? John D. Hemenway, the USNA Honorable Rhodes Scholar is requesting the documents of Barry Soetoro who also goes by Barack Hussein Obama to prove his eligibility to serve in higher office. The proof of ‘Natural Born Citizen’ should apply to the CIC. Is the lack of open documentation by Obama a double standard which challenges and complicates all levels of diversity at the Naval Academy?

  • Bucherm

    Sid,

    I graduated from HS before NOLA, but Virginia had a similar program called Standards of Learning(with the inevitable acronym SOL). While you needed to pass the SOLs to move on to the next grade or graduate, the score was not calculated into your GPA. NOLA is similar. The article you linked to was listing the top 5% of the various graduating classes(Valedictorians, Salutatorians), which is calculated by GPA, not standardize testing. In fact, according to the HISD website none of those kids took TAKS in their senior year of high school. They probably took the SAT(or ACT, or whatever Texas’ weird equilivant is), but since there’s a Texas law that gives you an automatic admission to any Texas public university if you’re in the top 10% of your graduating class, you could theoretically fail a SAT-like test and college will still admit you.

    This is *not* to knock the accomplishments of the kids in that article, I certainly didn’t make it into the top 5%(or 10, or 15 or 20…) of my graduating class, but it doesn’t “prove” that minorities do well on standardize tests by any means. If the USNA had a similar “Top 10%”rule that Texas Universities had, I might support that. But since so many universities use standardize testing instead of class rank to weigh admissions I also see how the temptation to move minorities to the front of the list comes up in the process.

    By the way, if I were King I would just encourage more mustangs by way of the USNA in order to better reflect the enlisted population, if we were deadset on having the USNA being more racially diverse.

  • AT1 Berlemann

    Interesting debate, going on again about whether or not a federally established educational institution taking tax payer dollars should be discriminatory in its admission policies or whether it should just put a blindfold on and only accept those who meet all the other wickets required to win the grand prize.

    During accession is the only time the US Military attempts to meet quotas. Whether that is recuriters who are required to fill certain blocks in non-diverse locals or being accepted to the USNA, USMMA, USCGA, USAFA, USMA. Once you get past accession programs and the body hits the fleet they become either Navy Blue/Gold, Army Green, USAF Blue/Silver, or USMC Green/Kahki. In the tweleve years of being in I have yet to see a block on any of my evals that asks me what my color, creed, sex, religion, or even political persussion is. The same is the previous 30+ years that my various members of my family had been in the Navy. We are so diversity blind to the point that when personnel in the Navy go up for such things as CPO boards, Command screening Boards, even Admiral boards all one sees is the full social of the person and their eval. No picture, no name, even the evals are sanatized prior by removing the pronouns in selected blocks. All one sees is “Sailor is a strong performer…”, “Particpated in Operation Denying Life…”, “…was awared Naval Commendation….”, etc. The board then screens based on those commentary and thier preformance mark averages.

    If I remember right the US Supreme Court has already ruled on this with both Unveristy system of California and with the U of Michigan and I would also have to look it up but various US District Courts have also ruled that basically if your school takes any sort of federal tax dollars you have to be color blind. I think that is the primary reason that Professor Fleming and by extension CDR Salamander is bringing this up. How is it fair for the government to say out of one mouth that we can’t discriminate but on the other mouth say to a canidate that they are unfit because of thier inability to meet diversity quotas?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “if we were deadset on having the USNA being more racially diverse.”

    That’s a red herring. Nobody is against that goal. But to achieve it by open and legal discrimination against a group based on skin color is just as wrong as preventing diversity by open and legal discrimination against a group based on skin color.

  • Andrew Norris

    To be fair, mind you, it’s _not_ just ‘whites’ (whatever the Hades THAT means, mind you… while I am considered ‘white’, I at best have about 40% ‘northern European’/Caucasian in me, if that much) getting the ‘trimming’ factor. Those Americans of Asian descent, in several areas (I do NOT know if this applies to the ring knockers, mind you, if it does, it’d not surprise me) are experiencing similar trends.

    Now, the GOAL of the schools (USMA, USNA, USAFA) is NOT to provide the iron core of leadership via -every- single student. It’s to provide a core of tradition steeped officers who, can provide the basic core of tradition, history and honor to the rest of the non trade school officers, epically in wartime.

    Now, lowering the standards? Mmm… No. Never should be done. As someone pointed out… grab the best enlisted and send them though. That IS why the age is up to 23, after all for admittance, simply so those outstanding junior NCO’s, who for one reason or another didn’t have the edge to find a congressman or senator to approve their entry can go. (And, given that they’d be cherry picked, they would already have shown the ability to excel, and lead, meaning a lot of the other markers wouldn’t be needed. If not ‘book’ smart, it would be trivial to send them to a course to get them up to speed, and let’s be honest, just by being tapped from the enlisted, for standing out, they wouldn’t fail at all.) They also provide an interesting take on the duties of an officer, which allows for an even broader view on the roles and duties of an officer. THIS would not only keep the iron core of the military strong, but strengthen it, instead of the current policies, which have the potential to weaken it.

    Andrew Norris.

  • Curtis

    The only thing all this diversity crap says to me is that it is official navy policy to discriminate purely on the basis of race.
    It is official navy policy that merit and achievement stand for nothing when it comes to measuring the future of any candidate for promotion to higher rank or grade.
    It is official navy policy that blacks are inferior to whites and asians and need a leg up in order to stay within visual signaling range of their peers.
    I never expected the US Navy to openly come out and say these sorts of racist things or to admit that the navy I’ve served for the last 25 years is an openly racist organization.
    The only way to end discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

  • Bucherm

    URR, I think you misunderstood me. I was saying that if the USNA is absolutely deadset on being more racially diverse(and indications are that the USN is touting the number of minorities at Annapolis “to better reflect our enlisted make up”as a goal in of itself), then in my ideal world we would increase the number of Mustangs coming out of USNA, rather than moving an 18 year old to the front of the list “Just because”.

    I wasn’t saying anyone here is against having the USNA being more racial diverse, I was just saying how I would try to ensure more racial diversity at USNA without losing alleged quality.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Bucherm,

    No, I agree with you. There are those who think any opposition to this policy means one does not desire diversity. You are correct in your assertions. And well-stated.

  • B. Keith Cossey

    The comments by Andrew Norris (July 3 @ 10:55 pm) go “outside the congressional-appointment box” and raise an often-overlooked perspective—the openings at the service academies for junior NCOs already in military service. It is critical to get them when they are young and yet have some leadership experience.

    “Mustangers,” Marine Corps officers who have received combat commissions (many of them out of the older staff NCO ranks) have tactical ability but, too often, lack the “presence” required of one who is to inspire his or her troops. Staff NCOs have too long been schooled in the mentality of “Don’t call me ‘Sir'; I work for a living.”

    The role of a sergeant is basically “maternal” (the mother hen who is close to and protective of the chicks) while the role of an officer is more “paternal” (the more-aloof rooster who crows with proper grammar and who defines the day and its mission). A late-military career commission can be as painful [redeacted by admin]for both the leader and the led. It helps all involved to groom individuals for the officer ranks when there is stll something of the maleable chick in them.

  • virgil xenophon

    Could an academic AND an ex AF fly-boy Fossil
    put his “oar in the water” here? (gotta use as much H2O tech talk as possible) Grandpa Sailor brings up an interesting point about mixed race individuals and their refusal to be pigeon-holed as Tiger Woods has done. EXACTLY WHO is going to classify
    these people for the purposes of “minority”
    set-asides during the selection process? Is the Navy going to allow them to self-identify? Or is some faceless bureaucrat going to decide their fate? And if so, are we not headed back to the “supposedly” odious days of the “one-drop”
    rule? I would remind all here that during the reign of the white minority in S. Africa during Aparthide, a the fate of mixed race individuals (the “Cape Coloureds”) was decided by the whim of lower-level bureaucrats who, by visual inspection alone,
    determined the fate of such individuals in terms of employment and educational opportunities, etc., by classifying them as black or “coloured,” This aspect of the regime was regarded by we more “enlightened” “progressive” types in the West as one of the more signal malignant marks of totalitarian regimes. Yet we seem to be on our way to embracing just such a system in present-day America.

    Secondly, I would mention one Robert Putnam by name; he of that ground-breaking study “Bowling Alone.” A study deemed so important bu this Political Scientist/Sociologist that President Clinton convened a special conference at Camp David with Putnam in attendance to discuss it’s implications for the fraying of the social bonds of society his study revealed. Putnam’s work fell on receptive ears within the “progressive” community on the left, suggesting, as it did, that we as a society should tend to the more “communal” aspects of our culture. His latest work, however, has been met with a deafening silence within that same community because of what it says about “DIVERSITY.” Putnam’s findings (the validity of which have yet to be challenged) demonstrate that the greater the cultural and racial diversity within a given society, the GREATER the MIS-TRUST between given groupings there is. Further, diversity even leads to greater mis-trust WHITHIN
    HOMOGENEOUS groupings as a result of their interactions with the out-groups.

    So much for “diversity” as Nirvana…..

    PS: So……it’s GOOD to foster “mistrust”
    on board submarines equipped with nuclear missiles?

  • virgil xenophon

    erratum: Apologizes: It’s GraMpa BLUEWATER Sailor!!

    And “Apartheid” viz “Aparthide”

  • virgil xenophon

    ADDENDUM: As someone old enough to have lived through “Jim Crow”, I am intimate with separate drinking fountains and the effects such policies have in the real world. And then, of course, all that was followed by my experience serving on active duty in the highly integrated thing called the armed services. So I have both an academic AND an experiential background from which to
    to base my comments.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    VX: That’s “Grampa Bluewater”. I have several lovely little girls and one strapping young buck who only know me as Grampa (so far). “Bluewater” because some folks who have sailed over less of it than I’ve wrung out of my black wool socks at 0415 seem to think that the words blue water and Navy put together are a bad thing, and find “littoral thinking” all chi-chi over canapes.

    To me it’s shallow thinking by another name.

    But I prefer the company of deckapes over canbeans to warmed over bigideas over canapes, so what do I know. To me, they all need more salt (the bigideas, not the light pupus).

    “Sailor” is just a compliment, so thanks. Like others of the breed, sometimes I stir the pot to see what bubbles up.

    A poetic helot this time, or so it appears.

    Anyway, glad somebody got my point, although I suspect URR was studiously ignoring me (again). My theory is he’s just jealous (well, green and tough too) because the sailors got the navy beans and the marines got the limas (or whatever they call ‘em) for all those years. Navy and Marine traditions, it’s not just about MRE.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    VX:
    P. S.:

    In submarines (regardless of propulsion machinery) “Life is simple, you’re either Qualified…or you’re not.”

    In academe…complicated.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Aww, Grampa,

    Ignoring? Perish the thought. To your eloquence and unimpeachable good sense, I can think to add nothing.

    Except maybe that the concept itself, legalized discrimination, will know NO bounds, save those defined by who holds favor and office.

    Situational ethics abounding. Discrimination. We once called it wrong, and still do, in certain instances. In fact, we will consider the idea of reparations to the descendants of those who suffered from the pockets of the descendants of those responsible, unfair and un-American as that is.

    Yet in other instances, we now call it right, provided it benefits the politically advantageous victim group or minority.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    *Burma Shave*

    I use the terms “those who suffered” and “those responsible” very loosely. Those groups will have to be defined by gross generalizations based entirely on skin color. After all, isn’t that the way to end racism?

  • ChrisInVA

    As an organization which is seeking the best and brightest to lead our sailors and marines into harms way, should not the USNA and the USN as a whole put aside racial identity as a qualifier? The USN needs to take charge in this “post-racial” era and remove all reference to race or gender in the application process. The standards of performance have been established, and should be the same for all who apply. How are mixed race applicants to be accounted for under the current process? Will they receive the same bias against them as white applicants?

    Did not MLK seek a day when skin color no longer mattered? It would appear the “diversity” policy is setting us back rather than moving us forward.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    URR:

    You forgot some native languages, some sexual preferences, some religions, some gender/transgenders, some collections of surnames correlated to some nationalities or social classes within some nationalities and some people with some of the above as some of their ancestors. I think that about somes it up, don’t you?

    Describe the only class not currently a protected class under the law (Oops, you can name the covered classes, but not the noncovered one. My mistake.)

    Diversity for all, except for some! Forward, diverseketeers!

  • LT Brine

    1. Professor Fleming: thank you for speaking out and standing up for standards. We all ways gave you trash for being and ostentatious individual, but you made us think, which is a professors real job, and this is one of those bitter truths that need to be spread. Maybe, one of these years, I’ll make it back and tell you how it’s been going.

    2. People are asking about the predictors of performance, if you look they are used very heavily in NUPOC and other accesion fields that are directed towards similar “tip of the spear” fields like nuclear power. (If you don’t know why NUC officers are tip of the spear wake up and look out the periscope.)

    Good luck to those who get in based on a lower standard for those with the right boxes checked, to reword a phrase: it’s hard, and it’s harder if your not as smart as the next guy. If you succeed well then you are welcome to my wardroom, we all bleed red, and work together to make sure our sailors don’t have to. IMHO I want the best guys going in, cause it’s more work than I have time for to fire a someone who can’t meet standards.

  • http://www.cdhaggard.com Curt

    Given the choice between being led by:

    -1- The top 1% (measured how you please) or

    -2- The top 10%, taking into account any 25-30 or so factors (backgrounds or predictors) to ensure that the Leaders and the Sailors are not too dissimilar…

    I would choose the latter.

    I don’t think we sacrifice any readiness at all by having the wardroom staffed with those who were not valedictorians or all-state quarterbacks.

    Curt
    ETCM(SS), Ret.

  • Natty Bowditch

    “Diversity for all, except for some!”

    Pity the poor white male. For generations, he has had to struggle and claw his way forward with the odds stacked against him.

    I could provide anecdotal evidence from my own class at a service academy, but it’s anecdotal. Of the top 10 academically, only one served 20+ years–the others hit private industry after 5. The first to gain flag rank was in the top half of the class, but just barely. Of course, this is anecdotal.

    Prof. Fleming claims his concern is the Navy and Marines. But he leaves out the really important evidence: how does class rank correlate to future performance? The data is extant but Fleming stays away from it like it’s radioactive. Why?

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDRSalamander

    Natty,
    You have a lot of anger you need to pray on there Shipmate. Your second paragraph I hear often in these conversations. Let me bring this up.

    What about the young sailor who came here from Bosnia, why should he be evaluated under different circumstances from the Sailor who grew up in Jamaica?

    We are talking about a fair and equal treatment for young men and women born mostly in 1991. Many of them, if you believe in transgenerational punishment, do not even have a connection to pre-64 discriminatory practices – much less slavery in this nation.

    Many of those we classify as “African American,” like the mixed-race General Powell (both parents from Jamaica) and President Obama (father from Kenya), have absolutely zero link to America’s history of slavery and institutional racism – though individual racism, of course. General Powell as a young man and junior officer did receive the tail end of the Jim Crow era attitudes and structures in NYC, but it sure didn’t impact his path to success in a pre-Affirmative Action era.

    We could go one for thousands of words on specific, real-world examples.

    A system of separate criteria is beyond paternalistic racism, but establishes a corrosive structure of a tribalistic ethnic spoils system founded on anger, frustration, envy, and a desire to avoid addressing the core problems that create different results for different socio-economic groups. Problems, BTW, that are neither the fault of the Navy or, beyond the extra effort of JNROTC cadre in schools, the ability of the Navy to correct.

    The only way to avoid a system of ethic based spoils system (see the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Kenya and Belgium for the usual results of such systems – not to mention the problem of self-identification fraud/inaccuracy) is to have a set of rigorous, and impartial system for selection hiring, promotion that include written examinations (does not have to be a SAT/ACT BTW).

    Those are the two choices you have. As John Derbyshire says;

    Either you have a spoils system built around bullying, intimidation and the question, “Where’s our piece?” or you have a rigorous … selection system involving written exams. That is your choice. Take your pick.”

    “Ethnic Spoils System” may seem like a rough description, but it is an accurate description if you are going to establish as your #1 priority breaking your Sailors, accurate or not, into ethnic groups with unequal treatment between them.

    Such systems always, always, end poorly.

  • ChrisInVA

    Natty: I do not believe anyone here is suggesting we “pity the poor whites”, however when it is suggested a barrier to white applicants be created in order to allow minority applicants in that is unjust. Is that any more fair than what was done by some whites against minorities in history past? Answering injustice with injustice does not create a positive and enlightened result, as history has evidenced across the globe.

    How does one successfully engage in a selection process which rewards skin color over a myriad of traits present in successful leaders throughout the centuries? How does such a system address applicants of multiple ethnicities or races? Does Applicant A get to be a “minority” because his paternal grandparents are, even though his maternal grandparents are white of German decent? How about Applicant B with one black grandparent and three white? What is the standard for identifying an applicant’s race? Can I claim to be black because my great-grandmother’s grandmother was black?

    Truly, I would suggest, the only way to right the wrongs of racial injustice is to remove all reference to race in applications and performance evals / fitreps. Set “The Standards” for all to know and aspire to, then advance an applicant because he/she demonstrated an academic ability to learn and think critically, as well as exhibited leadership potential. Would you disagree?

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Natty:

    You are right. No white 18 year old who ever owned a black slave should be admitted to the USNA. Any black 18 year old who was a slave to a white man in the USA should be admitted via the prep school. Mmmm, that would make the cutoff about 1883.

    How about no white 18 year old born before the Civil Rights Act admitted, any black male born before same admitted. Ahh, cutoff date would be 1987. Guess we’ll have to find some other criteria.

    Let’s try this. A generation is generally accepted as twenty years. Make the rule apply to anyone who became eligible to apply less than a generation after the Civil Rights Act. Oh dear, that cut off would be 2007. Well, we could at least give a general discharge to all white 1/c and 2/c Mids forthwith.

    Would you consider an exception for those with no more than 1/32 “confederate” ancestry? Wasn’t 1/32 “impure blood” acceptable to the SS/Gestapo? Or was it 1/64?

    What about all the rest of the blocks on the form? Well, it’s all about the sins of the white race, isn’t it? They would benefit too.

    Personally, I think racial hatred is a curse – bad for those hated, worse for those who hate. Who would promote such a thing, year after year, generation after generation. In the words of the Church Lady: “Could it be…Satan?”.

    Why not just jettison this nonsense, and go for bright, ambitious, promising kids, patriotic and enthusiastic? No other criteria?

    By the way, thanks for the clear cold breeze of reality, Master Chief. Refreshing. (Greek Chorus: “Correct as usual, Master Chief”)

  • Natty Bowditch

    Something or someone ate my post in my response to CDR.

    To recap, citing Derbyshire is odd since he once advocated killing Chelsea Clinton. Colin Powell doesn’t work as an example since he is an advocate of AA and says he was a beneficiary.

    Again, the system you claim is so fouled up and creating such divisions is really working for white males. In the early 80’s the Navy’s officer corps was about 7% minority–as of last year, it was 8%. So, I’d offer white males aren’t exactly being cashiered en masse.

    This is about opportunity, not outcome. If you believe admission to USNA is an outcome, then no argument will sway you. But if you are truly concerned about the quality of the USN/USMC–you’ll have to look at actual service. The historical data is out there; we know that in any given USNA class-about 25-30% of its grads will serve the minimum active duty requirement.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “If you believe admission to USNA is an outcome, then no argument will sway you.”

    I might phrase it thus: “If you believe limiting opportunity specifically because of race or ethnic origin, either for or against a particular group is not discrimination, then no argument will sway you.”

    Or perhaps: “If you believe that special and preferential treatment (or exclusion) of a group or individual based solely on the color of that person’s skin is not racism, then no argument will sway you.”

  • Grampa Bluewater

    CDR S.

    General Powell’s sterling career, capped by becoming the first ROTC graduate to rise to CJCS, notwithstanding, I would point out that of the first 13 black kids admitted to OCS, Admiral Gravely made flag on time, thank you very much. How does that compare with USNA Class of whatever who were in the RADM(LH) zone last year? Pretty good, I’ll wager.

    Did all right after that, too; as I recall.

    I’m standing pat on – skin color has no relationship to ability, achievement, virtue or villainy.

  • ChrisInVA

    Grampa Bluewater,

    I could not agree with you more! Skin color has never been a proven metric of success or failure!

    Natty,

    How is setting a lower standard righting the wrongs of the past, or creating an equitable environment? Personally, I would be offended that you would think so little of my peers and me as to set a lower bar of achievement!

    It used to be the “American way” to work hard to overcome the challenges of life, to break the chains of poverty, racial/ethnic stereotypes, education, and regional origins to better one’s station and rise above it all, regardless of skin color. What happened along the way?

  • Natty Bowditch

    ChrisinVA:

    Several false premises in your questions. It’s easy to claim a lower standard is being set but where’s the evidence?

    “It used to be the “American way” to work hard to overcome the challenges of life, to break the chains of poverty, racial/ethnic stereotypes, education, and regional origins to better one’s station and rise above it all, regardless of skin color. What happened along the way?”

    Nothing. Your “American way” is largely a myth. Donald Trump touts himself as a success story–but how difficult is success when you inherit $40M on your 21st birthday? For the vast majority of Americans, the socioeconomic conditions of your parents will be yours. (Cue the stories about walking 6 miles uphill, both ways, in the snow to school). If one or more of your parents went to college–chances are better you go to college than someone whose parents didn’t. If you grew up in a white collar home, chances are good you enter the white collar ranks. You might want to do some research on economic mobility.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Natty:
    “It’s easy to claim a lower standard is being set but where’s the evidence?”

    Check the court cases about medical school admissions. Or just read the Washington Post article that started this little verbal jousting match.

    “You might want to do some research on economic mobility.”

    I have, actually.

    1) Economic mobility and college don’t have a one to one correlation. You clearly don’t spend much time with successful painting, plumbing, roofing, or AC & R contractors. Or anybody who owns a McDonald’s in a small southern town. Or the guy who started Krispy Kreme.

    3)White collar does not mean wealthy and blue collar does not mean poor. The woman pressure washing your house in the mid atlantic ‘burbs more often than not used to be a teacher or a nurse until she figured out she can do way better with a pickup, a p washing rig, some ladders and a young guy working his way through night school to handle the other end of the ladders. As for the kid, in fifteen years he might be a District Attorney or a tax lawyer.

    If you did the research I’ve done you would know it’s all about avoiding drugs, drunkeness, dropping out, out of wedlock pregnancy, divorce, absentee fathers, revolving boyfriends and the dole.

    Success comes with hard work, thrift, family first, due diligence taught in the home starting with homework and chores, high standards from loving Fathers who are committed to their kids and willing to discipline carefully and fairly and who show (live) the utmost respect and loving concern for their wives. Ditto Mothers about their husbands. These people imbue their kids with love of learning, craftsmanship, and the value of commitment and personal honor. Not to mention a love of God and Country.

    The protestant (and jewish and Catholic and Orthodox and Mormon and Sikh and Hindu and Buddhist and Moslem) work ethic, for lack of a better term.

    Then another syndrome kicks in. The rachet effect, one or two clicks a generation. Not that there’s anything wrong with families with generations of firemen, or cops, or whatever. Money isn’t everything, and certainly isn’t the first thing. “Candide” didn’t get it all wrong, and Donald Trump doesn’t get it all right. I can’t think of a sadder existance than Howard Hughes, poor devil.

    How do I know? I read, a lot, have traveled, a lot, worked white and blue collar, and I have lived a long time, and I have a large and far flung family. Personal research and observation, if you will.

    There are no guarantees and no easy road, but that’s the way to bet. Best odds going.

    And I didn’t mention snow or long walks to school (they use big yellow buses these days, you really should get out more.)

    But we digress. Back to the admissions process at certain trade schools in Maryland…

  • ChrisInVA

    Natty,

    I hate to break your stereotype mythos, but I did just that. I grew up poor, so much so that we lived on food stamps and my parents made choices to buy food or pay bills time and again. We lived in a trailer park. Both of my parents graduated high school, but that’s where their education ended. They compelled me to work hard, to study hard in school, and they spent their time teaching me a strong work ethic and passion for service.

    I grew up watching F-4s flying on their way to then NAS Millington, TN, and decided that was what I wanted to do.

    I did not let my poor, small town Tennessee upbringing shape what I was to become. My parents could not afford to send me to college. I did not let a lack of funding for college deter me from my goals. I researched my options for college, and chose to enlist in the Army because they offered more than the GI Bill. I fulfilled my obligation, found a university and started immediately following my end of service. I worked full time my first year in school, studied hard, and never lost sight of my goal of flying. I applied for an NROTC 3-year scholarship, was accepted and commissioned upon graduation. I started flight school that Fall.

    So, Natty, I overcame the circumstances of my existence. I only recently finished paying back college loans, and now I am working towards my Graduate degree. There was a will, and I made a way.

    I will not accept the premise that people cannot overcome their “lot in life”, or cannot do better than the circumstances from which they are raised.

    The individual has the power to establish goals and do all that is required to meet them. That, sir, is what I meant by the “American way”. All have this power, and reliance upon the State and its institutions is the surest way to dependency and its resultant lowered expectations.

    While I respect your assertion concerning economic mobility, I do not accept it as an inevitable consequence.

  • ChrisInVA

    Scratch “consequence”. . . I meant result!

  • ChrisInVA

    Grandpa,

    Wow, you said it all so much better than I did! Your wisdom is indeed showing!

    Well said, sir.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    See, Grampa?

    How can I comment after THAT? It would be like going on after Tony Bennett…

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Chris in VA and URR:

    You flatter me, sirs (I will cherish the moment, as only old men do).

    Robin Williams walked up to Jerry Lewis one night, clicked his heels and did a quarter bow and said “Maestro”.

    Takes one to know one, gents.

  • AT1 B

    Natty,

    You need to study up more on your American history sir. The idea that a poor immigrant can pull one’s self up by their boot straps has been alive and well since the end of the American Revolution. Although a good portion of it was built up by the American Media (pulp fiction writers, newspaper men, etc) they based it on real life peoples. Such as John J. Astor, a man who immigrated with nearly nothing to his name was able to build himself a fur empire and become a multi-million heir in the period of twenty years.

    A. Lincoln, a man born to uneducated farmers rose to become the President of the United States of America.

    Andrew Carnegie, a Scotch-Irish immigrant to the US, whose family background was of weavers. Turned around and built Pittsburgh to be the leading steel town that it was and then turned around gave all his money back to charity.

    J. Rockfeller, A man whose father was a traveling salesman and if one believes the history possibly even a con-man. Ended up creating Standard Oil.

    Bill Cosby, former corpsman, grew up in South Philly, father was a cook, used the GI bill to become a Doctor in children’s education from U of Mass. Also a graduate of Temple U in Philly.

    Oprah Winfrey born into abject poverty in Mississippi. Media Empire Mogul.

    To list some of the others is immaterial to this debate. Benjamin Disraeli said something to the effect that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. It looks like you got trapped in that.
    You cite that the officer corps is only 7% minority. Yet according to the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the truth of the matter is that the number of officers in the US military completely comes in around 17.58% if you don’t count those people who consider themselves mixed of two or more races or don’t know how to classify themselves, link: http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/PopRep2007/appendixb/b_25.html.
    The stat that you cite is strictly for blacks, if you include the Asians, Asian Islanders, Native Americans, Hispanics, and those that identify with two or more racial backgrounds then you reach the correct stat of around 23% are minority in the US Navy alone. Then add in those Warrant Officers (I am sure for a Ring-Knocker like yourself you discount the CWO’s as “true officers”) and you actually come out to something close to 30% of all officers in the US Navy are of a minority. There are plenty of them out there the junior personnel just need to look around and see what those officers are doing. They sure aren’t looking around huffing and puffing that the world owes them something. Rather these officers are working hard to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

  • mark scease

    This quote from Natty above concerns me. Even when the deaths of newly commissioned are taken into play, if this is the number then the USN isn’t left with many worthwhile candidates regardless of race, creed, or religion “This is about opportunity, not outcome. If you believe admission to USNA is an outcome, then no argument will sway you. But if you are truly concerned about the quality of the USN/USMC–you’ll have to look at actual service. The historical data is out there; we know that in any given USNA class-about 25-30% of its grads will serve the minimum active duty requirement.”
    I’m not sure naval traditions are being moved along given these numbers.
    Comment?

  • http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com/ Juan Caruso

    “And their seat, once taken, is thus denied the stellar one.”

    In my opinion, the larger scandal committed upon taxpayers is admission of many candidates who are in all probability well-connected caucasion men and females with no serious intention of making the Navy their career!

    Taxpayers are indeed being ripped off by this admissions lkaxity gaming to the tune of about $300,000 a seat. Retention rates for military academies are anything but stellar these days measured against historical norms. How many great generals and admirals have been turned away so Suzy can get a terrific education at taxpayer expense, serve the requisite minimum, and then go to law school?

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