Serving While Black
I’m a Soldier currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, roughly 17 years. I plan on doing 20. Might as well at this point. I’ve fought in both the Middle-East (Iraq) and Central Asia (Afghanistan), and would have no problems going to any of our warzones again, despite the fact that I should tend to my family on the homefront more.
I’ve also served as an Equal Opportunity Non-Commissioned Officer (EO; prevention of racism, sexism, and discrimination concerning) as well as the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Non-Commissioned Officer (SHARP; prevention of sexism, rape). The reason why I bring this up, is because I stand as an African-American Soldier who is trained as an anti-racism and anti-sexism service member. I really do stand against racism and sexism while in service.
Would you still “thank me for my service” if I told you that if you really wanted to thank me, you’d stop using our uniforms and service as a stepping stone in regards to silencing our fellow Americans in pain?
The reason why I bring this up, is because I really want to know what you mean when you “thank me for my service” while I’m the grocery store or in an airport. I find it interesting that people from all racial backgrounds, especially white people, continue to thank me for my service during these trying times.
Long story short, I’m wondering if you would still “thank me for my service” if you knew I totally understand, and agree with Colin Kaepernick, on top of Black Lives Matter, on top of DAPL protesters, as well as the Latin-American DACA protesters. Would you still “thank me for my service”, being that my service includes telling racially fragile white people about white privilege, telling sexually fragile men about male privilege, with the unwavering, unyielding posture of an Army Ranger? Would you still “thank me for my service” if I told you that if you really wanted to thank me, you’d stop using our uniforms and service as a stepping stone in regards to silencing our fellow Americans in pain?
As a service member, we are not allowed to protest — or at least, protest while in uniform. In a way, a lot of us serving exist as silent professionals who are very reticent in regards to telling our civilians — that’s you — that you are wrong, or you need to stop. In a way, we as Armed Forces service members are paralyzed from correcting you. Forgive me, but I have to take a stand. I have to, by the best of my abilities, inform you, the civilian public, the private citizen, that you are undeniably wrong in your use of our uniforms to attempt to silence, shut down, drown out protesters who only want YOU to demand that our own police stop killing us, shooting us like dogs in the street.
I think a lot of you are actually thanking me for my assumed silence on these issues, versus my actual service. I think a lot of you, are thanking me for serving white supremacy. Sorry, but not sorry. No, I refuse to be silent, so if you are thanking me because you assume that I’m a “colonized” African-American, you are wrong.
Keep in mind that a police officer on American streets have more leeway to murder with impunity than a Soldier or Marine does in warfare, who’s fighting a legitimate war. Even if there’s a literal enemy wounded that we meet, we bandage them with sometimes our own first aid equipment. An American cop on the other hand, makes no attempt to save an injured “suspect”, and often let the person bleed out, especially when that person is African-American. These professionals wear shields, not swords, therefore there should be a great level of restraint they practice. They should be protectors, not aggressors. Do not lecture me about those who put themselves in harm’s way either; cops do not suffer any IED (Improvised Explosive Device) threat. The majority of maimed, mutilated and crippled people you see will be from military service members, not police officers. Police are NOT under a warzone-like threat. When we as Soldiers break the law, there’s the Uniform Code of Military Justice which may serve Article 15’s or Court Martials. When a cop breaks the law, nothing happens. There’s a problem here.
You saying that you thank me for my service is practically like saying, “Hey troop, I’m not going to spit on your uniform in an airport,” versus actually providing anything substantial.
I really do wonder why you thank me for my service. I’m thinking that when you thank me for my service, it’s not because of what you are willing to provide, it’s about what you are not doing. You saying that you thank me for my service is practically like saying, “Hey troop, I’m not going to spit on your uniform in an airport,” versus actually providing anything substantial. If you are so thankful of my service, then why do you continue to vote for politicians who do nothing for military personnel? Why do you enable politicians who want to chip away at our earned benefits? The majority of Soldiers are paycheck to paycheck, and you keep voting for these politicians who continue to cut corners?
I think a lot of you are actually thanking me for my assumed silence on these issues, versus my actual service. I think a lot of you, are thanking me for serving white supremacy. Sorry, but not sorry. No, I refuse to be silent, so if you are thanking me because you assume that I’m a “colonized” African-American, you are wrong. If you assume I’m a “black conservative” who you can live vicariously through while I support your racism, you are wrong. If you think I’m content with a blatant sexist as a President, you are wrong. I am not silent on these matters, and I refuse to be your tool to suppress others.
Anyway, I’m getting sick and tired of seeing hundreds, if not thousands of American civilians saying that a protest of a flag (or anything) is against us, the troops. This is the equivalent to saying someone is injured from a thrown stone when not only are they not, but nothing was ever aimed at them. Please, American public, stop using us to silence protesters. Stop doing it. Stop bringing us up. You really don’t give a damn about us. Stop. Don’t tell me that you thank me for my service — you are really thanking this black service member for his silence.
And I refuse.
Unless you are supporting Kaepernick, and any other athlete (or anyone!) in protest against police lack of accountability, you can keep your thanks.