Many US troops encounter racism in ranks – poll

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As many as 42 percent of non-white US troops said they have personally experienced examples of white nationalism in the military, as opposed to about 18 percent of white service members, according to a new poll.

Twenty five percent of all soldiers who took a Military Times survey have said they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members,

When asked whether white nationalism posed a threat to national security, 30 percent of respondents viewed it as a significant danger, ranking higher than many international hot spots, such as Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent) and Iraq (17 percent).

 

Some soldiers left comments that the survey wasn’t broad enough, though. Some 5 percent complained that groups like Black Lives Matter, whose stated goal is to raise awareness of violence and discrimination against black people, wasn’t included among the options of ‘threats to national security.’

Others added that white nationalism “is not a terrorist organization” or that “white nationalists are not actually racists.”

The poll was conducted between September 7 and 25, and involved 1,131 active-duty US troops. The responders were 86 percent male, 14 percent female, and had a mean age of 30 years.

Demographically, 76 percent of respondents identified as white, 8 percent Hispanic, 9 percent African-American, 2 percent Asian and 5 percent other ethnicities.

The poll was conducted a month after white supremacist group marches and clashes with counter protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, between August 11-13.

Three people died and at least 33 were injured during the August clashes. In one incident, 20-year-old white nationalist James Fields plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters killing one person and injuring 19 others. Fields was charged with second-degree murder and the Department of Justice announced a civil rights investigation into the case.

Dillion Ulysses Hopper, a leader of the white supremacist group Vanguard America, which headlined the rally in Charlottesville, was a marine staff sergeant in good standing. He had served in the Marines from 2006.  Vanguard America is said to oppose multiculturalism and “believes that America is an exclusively white nation.”

The survey found more than 60 percent of troops would support activating the National Guard or reserves to deal with civil unrest, such as the events in Charlottesville or Ferguson. The National Guard was brought in to handle crowd control by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe when he declared a state of emergency while Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on the unit to help in Houston after it was battered by Hurricane Harvey.

In August, a news report said military recruiters are being told to avoid enlisting neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists. They were told to look for tattoos showing barbed wire, lightning bolts, skulls, swastikas, hobnailed boots and hammers.

“There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps,” Marine Corps Commandant General Robert B Neller told Stars and Stripes.

There have been longstanding concerns about right-wing extremists infiltrating the armed services to gain tactical knowledge and insights into troops’ radicalization after they’ve joined.

 

Military veterans have carried out extremists attacks in the US in the past decade. Most recently, in August 2012, when Michael Page killed six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before committing suicide by shooting himself in the head after he was shot in the stomach by a responding officer. Page was an American white supremacist and army veteran.

In 2011, Kevin Harpham, who served in the army, placed a radio-controlled pipe bomb along the route of that year’s Martin Luther King Jr memorial march in Spokane, Washington. Police were able to defuse the bomb. Harpham was arrested in March and sentenced to 32 years in prison for the attempted bombing.

Five years ago, a photograph surfaced showing a sniper team in Afghanistan posing in front of an American flag with a logo resembling the notorious Nazi SS. The Marine Corp confirmed the photograph. Marine spokesman Lt. Col Stewart Upton told The Guardian the marines in the photograph were no longer with the unit.


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4 COMMENTS

  1. Reality check. The US military operates on the principles of national & racial supremacism. Who dares to think it should be different among and between soldiers? That’s pure sophistry.

  2. See, these groups still do not think Native Americans have a right to exist. That somehow, land can just be taken by religious edict and inhabitants eradicated. I too, rank this as a very high security threat. Just as the use of the anti-semitism label is a threat to Israel itself, so too is white nationalism a threat to the US itself. They are ruthless, and burning with hate. Self aggrandized turds full of fear of the outside world and ready to impose exceptionalism at the drop of a hat. Easily triggered with no respect, is a profile of a criminal. Add dumb as a bag of hammers, and it is a threat.

    • Gee David, I just read and re-read the article, and nowhere in it did I see anything about “these groups” having an opinion one way or the other about Native Americans having the right to “exist”. Although it seems a tragedy that the Native Americans land was taken from them by superior force, it is hardly anything new – and as far as a detailed look into history proves that the “Native Americans” took it from those who were here before as well. White Nationalism in the truest sense is NOT a threat to the US any more than “Red” Nationalism as practiced by many “Native Americans”. The rest of your post is gibberish and is therefore unremarkable.

    • Easily triggered. I certainly can’t see “white nationalism” simultaneously taking responsibility for genocide. Murder excused by , “well everyone does it” is always the fall back excuse for marauders. We don’t have to go very far back. Calling Standing Rock what it was, ” A rabid police and military joint action fueled by big oil propaganda, white nationalism and christian exceptionalism”. I’d love to hear the “history” of who it was the Native Americans “took” the land from. Your post, is typical, and your knowledge of history whitewashed. My family settled towns in Westchester county NY by peaceable means and had good relations. Concord also. It was Christian domination doctrine and white nationalism, that sullied those conditions and it continues today.

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