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May 1986

Success Story: Blacks in the Military
by Charles Moskos

The record of the U.S. military in race relations is one that deserves recognition … Blacks occupy more management positions in the military than they do in business, education, journalism, government, or any other significant sector of American society …

Observation of any dining facility … reveals little informal racial separation. A rule of thumb is that the more military the environment, the more effective the integration. Interracial comity is stronger in the field than in the garrison, stronger on duty than off, and stronger on post than in the world beyond the base …

I have asked many Army blacks what it was that made a military career attractive as an avenue of mobility. For one thing, many of them have said, there were enough blacks in the Army to promise a certain degree of social comfort and professional support. For another, there were enough non-black and non-poor people to prevent the Army from being thought of as a “black” institution or a haven for society’s underclass. The Army, in short, delivered the uplift but not the stigma of a government social program. If the Army has succeeded as a remedial organization for many youths with otherwise dead-end prospects, it may be precisely because the Army does not admit to being a remedial organization at all.

Vol. 257, No. 5, pp. 64–72

Read the full article here.