Your tax dollars at work for you. Had to investigate this one for myself, as it seemed too surreal to be, well, real. But the documentation is preserved online. Behold, the Soviet-style reeducation project of the United States military, complete with mantras, slogans, and invidious allegations with which to berate and ostracize the enemies of the people.
Fox News’s Todd Starnes broke the story on 31 October. The training manual used by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), dated April 2012, contains an extensive chapter on “white male privilege,” which makes, among others, the following points:
Privilege is rooted in the history of American institutions. … Even though many … abuses of authority occurred long ago, the consequences are still seen today in:
– All levels of government, including both elected officials and political appointees.
– All branches of the military.
– The justice system, including the police and the courts.
– Financial institutions, including banks, investment firms, and real estate concerns.
– Educational institutions, including public and private institutions at the elementary, high school, and college levels.
– Religious institutions.
– Employers, both public and private.
Along with this (boldface emphasis in original):
Privilege and Social Identity
– Race/Ethnicity – Whites are the empowered group.
– Socio-Economic Status – Rich people are the empowered group.
– Gender – Men are the empowered group.
– Sexual Orientation – Heterosexuals are the empowered group.
– Religion – Judeo-Christians, or perhaps only Christians, are the empowered group [sic to the nth power].
– Health – Able-bodied people and those with good mental health are the empowered group.
Simply put, a healthy, White, heterosexual, Christian male receives many unearned advantages of social privilege, whereas a Black, homosexual, atheist female in poor health receives many unearned disadvantages of social privilege.
The definition of “white privilege” (italics in original):
White privilege is defined as the package of unearned advantages granted to those members of a diverse society with white skin. [I know, I know. The syntax is absurd here. Stay with me, people.] Moreover, it’s an expression of institutional racism that is largely unacknowledged by White individuals.
The White Male Club, outed:
2. White Male Club (Terry, 1976 [Yes: the framework for this section comes from a 1976 article in the Journal of Intergroup Relations, which seems to explain a lot])
Concepts of the White male club:
a. An organization that arbitrarily selects members and bestows appropriate and psychological benefits on them. [Technically, in the Terry framework, the organization does not select members arbitrarily, but according to clear-cut criteria.]
b. Distributes influence and power among its members and uses power to dominate groups like self (consciously or unconsciously).
c. Anyone considered White and not a member of another group is included.
d. A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by White persons (males) beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens and liabilities that persons of another group may face because of the White male club.
e. Members police each other White/White, male/male, which allows that group to keep its power.
If this framework seems kind of irrational to you, and reliant on an emotive, elliptical use of language, you probably have the Value Orientation of the White male club:
Value Orientation: Not all White males accept them [sic]. Nor do all White women and minority people deny them. The White male, Western, highly technological society rewards individual initiative; encourages competition; supports dispassionate, objective, and analytic thinking; and provides for creativity and personal advancement within the system.
Which doesn’t sound so bad, actually. But getting back to emotion and logical ellipsis, there’s a whole section on Rationalizations for Retaining Privilege and Avoiding Responsibilities, containing gems like these (boldface in original):
5. It was unintentional. The group or individual with more power, who has clearly done something that resulted in some kind of devastation, might claim that the damage was unintentional, therefore, their responsibility was minimal. Today, some White people may continue to claim that racism and sexism is [sic] unintentional…
6. It’s all over now. Another way to defuse responsibility [you know, you just can’t “sic” everything] is by claiming that all the devastation occurring to minorities and females happened in the past. Some White people may often be oblivious to the fact that many of the same discriminatory policies of a hundred years ago are still in effect today. Today some White people may claim racism and sexism are all over by saying, The days of land grabbing are long gone. That was before the Civil Rights era, before women’s equality.”
7. It’s only a few people. If White people are unable to maintain that the atrocities are all in the past, they may switch to tactics to make a current situation seem isolated. Some White people might say that it’s really only a few people who are like that; it is not systemic or institutionalized. Today, some White people may continue to use this tactic…
Fascist collectivism always resorts to the same material. Accusative formulations like these mirror quite exactly the accusations used by local Party leaders against the “enemies of the people” in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Mao’s China, among other collectivist dictatorships of the past century. The “enemies” might have been landowners, small shopkeepers, “intellectuals,” or Jews; the brief against them, propagated through the Party mechanisms of propaganda, enforcement brigades, and local collectives, always contained the same elements.
There is no safe, benign use for this kind of vilification program. The DEOMI manual doesn’t disappoint; it calls for action. The equal-opportunity trainers and other officers receiving training under its auspices are urged to become “Strong White Allies” (or at least, apparently, to train “White people” to be Strong White Allies – that is, allies of those fighting racism and injustice). The manual makes the following, admittedly garbled appeal (boldface in original):
With privilege comes responsibility. So, in order to reduce and eliminate discrimination and institutionalized racism, social, political, and economic power must be gained by racial minorities. Many representatives of racial minorities are consistent in describing the kinds of support they need from White allies if they are to increase their social, political, and economic power and overcome the effects of racism and discrimination.
The following are some strategies on how to acknowledge that responsibility and become a strong White ally.
a. Assume racism is everywhere, everyday. …
b. Notice who is the center of attention and who is the center of power. …
c. Notice how racism is denied, minimized, and justified. …
d. Understand and learn from the history of Whiteness and racism.
Notice how racism has changed over time and how it has subverted or resisted challenges. [This claim is a classic in collectivist propaganda: the claim that the inimical patterns of the people’s enemies change their stripes over time, to cleverly avoid being defeated or wiped out by the righteous.] …
h. Don’t confuse a battle with the war.
Behind particular incidents and interactions are larger patterns. Racism is flexible and adaptable. [Again, the “adaptation” theme: racism never goes away, but remains everywhere, everyday.] There will be gains and losses in the struggle for justice and equality. …
…and so forth. Read, as they say, the whole thing. I join Allen West in stating unequivocally that this postulated environment of racism and “White male privilege” is not a description of the military I served in for 20 years, from 1983 to 2004. Starnes quotes West:
“This is the Obama administration’s outreach of social justice into the United States military,” he told me. “Equal Opportunity in the Army that I grew up in did not have anything to do with white privilege.”
West said he is very concerned about the training guide.
“When the president talked about fundamentally transforming the United States of America, I believe he also had a dedicated agenda of going after the United States military,” he said. “The priorities of this administration are totally whacked.”
And frankly, he’s right about that.