30 April 2015 @ 03:30 pm
My Thoughts on Black People and the Military (+Story)  
So I've never been the biggest fan of the military. As a teenager I was against the war in Iraq, but I never really thought too much about the military. A guy I was crushing on was planning on going in and me being all Bella-like was prepared to be a military wife. So no at that point I didn't really have anything against going into the military.

But the events of the past few years plus my self learning into how black Americans are treated in this country have really made me gain more of an opinion on this topic. I was reading a post on FB about a black woman that supposedly committed suicide while enlisted. But it all the clues didn't add up. She may or may not have been murdered. But the military, the people she was basically giving her life for closed the case. They agreed with the coroner.

Now some you may know that my boyfriend has been planning to enlist in the National Guard. When he told me I was afraid. I didn't want him to go because I didn't want to lose him. At that point I wasn't necessarily thinking about the fact that he would be a black man in the military. But as I got home and processed it more I started to ruminate. You would have to be under the deepest rock in the sea to not notice at how many black people are being killed in America. It's not just black men though they are more visible. I don't understand why as a black person you would enlist in a army to defend a country that does not care about you. I just don't. I'm sure we as black people feel patriotic just like everyone else. But for me that does not extend to my life on the line for a country that would spit on my grave. Just no.

One of my LJ friends asked me to post the story I sent to my boyfriend. It's a very short story but it seems up what I wrote above in a fictional way.



Back at One by Destiny Williams

“You what?”

They were eating dinner. She hadn’t cooked but her mother had. Mercifully the woman had left them to their devices after imploring them to eat their fill.

“I’m enlisting.”

She chewed and swallowed the salty pork chop. He was looking intently at her. He hadn’t put down his fork.

She shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. She reached for her glass.

“But why?” She mumbled.

“We’re at war,” he said.

She rolled her eyes. She would never had expected him to be a patriot. “America is at war.”

He sighed. “Don’t start this again.”

“The war is useless,” she said.

Neither of them wanted to get into the politics surrounding the war. Not right now. They’d been down this road before. They always headed in separate directions.

They turned back to their plates. Ursula took out her frustrations on the meat while Mahir picked over his rice. She kept glancing up at him hoping to catch his eye but he never looked up.

“You know I don’t want you to go,” she said finally. There it was out. The bare truth.

“I know,” he said.

“And you’re still going to go?”

He looked up then. His light brown eyes looked into her dark ones.

“Yes.”

She smashed the palm of her hand on the table. The glasses rattled.

“Honey?” Her mother’s voice called. “Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine Mom,” she called back.

She stood up and picked up her plate. She managed to get the glass in the crook of her arm and walked with both of them to the sink. They didn’t have a dishwasher. Her mother didn’t believe in dishwashers.

She heard him come up behind her. He sat his stuff down.

“It won’t be that bad.”

She dumped the soap into the plate. “Yes, it will.”

He reached out to touch her shoulder but she leaned away. He sighed.

“What if you don’t come back?”

“You were always such a pessimist Ursula.”

She gritted her teeth. “I’m not a fucking pessimist. I’m being realistic. Some people go off to war and don’t come back. I’m being rational.”

He laughed at that. “That’s right. My rational, methodical Ursula Barnes.”

She smiled despite herself. He had an annoying habit of making her laugh at inopportune times.

She turned off the water and turned to him. She looked at him. She started to catalogue his feature. The high cheekbones, the wide lips, the dopey eyes, the dark skin. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to remember him if he never came back. Why couldn’t he understand that? Why couldn’t he understand that she was terrified?

“I don’t want you to go,” she said again. “I’m scared.”

He took her into his arms. “I’m afraid too. But I want to do this.”

She clutched his back. “I don’t understand why.”

She could hear his laugh rumble in his chest. He was warm and smelled of freshly laundered clothes.

“I don’t even understand why myself,” he said. “I guess deep down I feel a responsibility to this country.”

“Even if it doesn’t feel a responsibility to you?” She said. She looked up at him.

He nodded. “Still. Idiotic right?”

She nodded. “Yeah. But that’s how you’re wired.”

He pulled her closer. “I’ll come back.”

“You can’t promise that.”

“I know,” he said. “But we can both choose to believe it.”

She laid her head against his chest. Yes she could believe that. No matter how utterly nonsensical it was. He had never lied to her she told herself. So he would come back. And their lives together would continue.

A bell started to ring.

“I guess that’s my cue,” he said. He took a step back.

He kissed her on the cheek before turning to leave. She followed him through the living room like a puppy while he put on his jacket and gloves. He pulled his hat down over his head and opened the front door.

“You’ll come back tomorrow?” She asked.

He smiled. “Of course. I always do.”
 
 
 
 
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♫ puttin' on the ritz ♫: [magi] Jafar[personal profile] blitzwing on May 1st, 2015 03:25 am (UTC)
I don't understand why as a black person you would enlist in a army to defend a country that does not care about you.

Economically it's a good opportunity for a lot of people. It pays for their college later too. Most of the people that I know that have went into the military just saw it as a job and an opportunity, they didn't really do it for idealistic reasons.

For more idealistic people though, even if the country is flawed and a group is oppressed in it, some people will still want to fight for it because they still see it as something worth protecting, something that can become better. This was an issue back in WWII, when some people would ask why should black people die in Europe fighting Hitler, when their own country had racism and segregation at home?

I think both groups have a valid point.
Lady DT[personal profile] leia_solo on May 1st, 2015 01:31 pm (UTC)
I get that from the first point. But for the person I wrote about that prompted this post she's already been to and graduated from college. I suppose she could be going to pay off debt FROM college so there's that. But for me there's always a chance that you could die AND that in my opinion is not worth esp. for the reasons I've written here. And then you have the fact that even white veterans struggle to get the benefits that they earned. I don't even want to think about what that means for a black vet.
ayebydan[personal profile] ayebydan on May 2nd, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC)
I don't understand why as a black person you would enlist in a army to defend a country that does not care about you. I just don't.

This. I know for some it is the education part of it. Personally, I see that as manipulation. Not everyone gets sent to Iraq but you can't guarantee that. An education in exchange for possible death, injury, a mental breakdown and worse? I cannot imagine that level of desperation. And that is for white Americans. To do all that and still get treated like shit...I just can't imagine it. A piece of paper won't stop a person becoming the next Eric.

That whole wuote about ask not what your country can do for you ect just feels so hollow these days. Another week another dead black man. The women don't even hit the news.
Lady DT[personal profile] leia_solo on May 2nd, 2015 09:49 pm (UTC)
Exactly bb. I just can't get behind it.