Several members of Congress want to know how the Coast Guard Academy addressed racist incidents that have apparently been swept under the rug. This is part of a troubling trend of racism and discrimination in the military.
The lawmakers have recently been pressing the Coast Guard commandant to explain how the academy resolved several racist incidents, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
“The statistics and facts bear out that there are some problems. If the military is truly colorblind, then I would expect officials to roll up their sleeves and fix the problems. In these days and times, you would expect things to be getting better, but sometimes bad habits have a way of repeating themselves,” Mississippi’s Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Congressional Black Caucus member, told the news outlet.
“Complaints of discrimination go unaddressed, ignored and unresponded to,” Tamara Lanier, vice president of the NAACP’s New London branch, stated. The civil rights organization has been raising the issue with lawmakers.
In one incident, the academy reportedly investigated a white cadet accused of racially intimidating a Black cadet in 2017 through an offensive song that romanticized the South winning the Civil War and by displaying the Confederate emblem. But it’s unclear how academy officials resolved that and other complaints.
The Coast Guard Academy is far from alone when it comes to racist incidents. In February, the Naval Academy expelled a white midshipman who used a racial slur in online posts with fellow cadets. And the Citadel, a military academy in South Carolina, investigated a cadet in January who used the N-word in a social media post.
Systemic racism in the active duty military is also problem, according to a study reported in USA Today, which found that Black troops are disproportionately more likely to receive discipline than their white counterparts.
In response to the inquiry by member of Congress, the Coast Guard Academy’s diversity chief, Aram deKoven, insisted that the academy is using several initiatives to improve the racial climate, according to the AP.