Anyone who knows even the slightest about me knows that I am a HUGE advocate for service members, as I am an Air Force veteran myself having served 8 years. It isn’t the “fighting for our country” part that I am sensitive to because let’s be honest guys, this country is fighting AGAINST us. It is the fact that these people are always going to be a part of me and who I am. The camaraderie within the military is so strong and unbelievable because of the experiences we faced together. The people I’ve met throughout my military career are people I will never forget, especially the ones that I literally risked my life next to. It’s something many civilians will never have the opportunity to understand. But let me explain why I am focusing on the black service members right now.
We all know how intense and severe social and political issues have been for black people in the last 4-5 years. You’d have to have been living under a rock to not be aware of our current state within America. And with all that is happening around us, it is only right for us to stick together and support and love each other, the same as other races and cultures do. But you also gotta leave it to black people to be the biggest critics of their own. Since 2011, I have had 2 close friends of mine pass away, both service members and both losing their life due to a direct or indirect effect of the military. So when it comes to honoring and respecting those in an Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard uniform, I’m all in 100%. But it burns me to the core when I see “Pro-Black’ people dishonoring one of our people after they were killed in action by saying things like, “They knew what they were signing up for.” or “They had no business fighting for a country that doesn’t fight for them”. Not realizing the various reasons why people join the military while being black. The argument is that the majority join to “get away”, which is many cases is true but that goes for all races, not just black. But of course if you’ve never been around other races within the military you wouldn’t know that to be factual. Also is the argument that the black people who join the military are some how affiliated or partner with the corruption within the US government and we are playing into the oppressors intent. Where are these assumptions coming from?
My personal reason for joining the military is simple: my parents made me. I was 17 years old, hadn’t even graduated high school yet when I was enlisted and signed up for the Delayed Entry Program. I was awarded 3 scholarships and accepted into FAMU as a journalism major, however my father insisted I do not go to an HBCU (for whatever his own reasoning) and I was sent to the military. I was not a young person from a poor family in the hood that needed a way out or couldn’t afford college so I joined to pay for schooling. I had all of my ducks in a row but I chose to follow my parents wishes and enter a lifestyle that I honestly was not ready for. Upon completing Basic Military Training, I soon realized how dope of an idea my father had by sending me to the military. I was now 18, no spouse, no kids, no bills and making a salary I had no idea what to even do with. I was in Germany living and loving life. So in essence, I joined to have freedom as a newly established adult, not to defend a flag. Also keep in mind, it was 2006. At 17, the most I knew about politics was who the President and Vice President of the United States were and who my city’s mayor was, that was it! I joined the military under the Bush Administration…that within itself should tell you I knew nothing of what I was embarking on.
Now speaking about Presidents, something I also hear a lot of within our community is how the military has to follow behind their president and do exactly as commanded, which is true BUT to a very certain extent. The President of the United States is our Commander and Chief but every decision that is made my him or Congress does not directly affect our day to day, whether at work or in our personal lives. Out of all the things going wrong in the country between 2006 and 2008, I felt no reprecussions from it so how could what Bush says or does truly effect me as a person How could what he says or does affect my character? It didn’t!
I was young and ignorant to the reality of why I was in the uniform. I was naïve to the puppeteering going on with our people in the same uniform, to include myself. I didn’t know how undervalued we were to the government compared to our white counterparts. I didn’t know! I was just there to wear the uniform and perform my daily duties for that salary every 1st and 15th. I didn’t know then what I know now. And I’ve been asked many times since I’ve separated in 2014, would I do it all over again and my answer would be no. I would never sign my life away to defend a country who’s main initiative is to make my people extinct. There is nothing this country does to help black people, nothing. The government is very strategic and tactful is brainwashing us to believe otherwise. THIS I know now at 29 years old. As an active duty service member, you are never permitted to speak ill of the Commander and Chief or the flag. So do you know once August 8, 2014 came, I went to my FB and spewed all the disdain I had for this country because I could finally do so! Do I love this country? No. Do I support this country? No. My first and only deployment was to Iraq in 2008, right after Obama was elected. Was I proud then? Hell yea! Like many of us, I thought change was gonna come for us. But unfortunately, you guys know the rest.
My whole point behind this is that no matter how I feel about this country, I love each and every one of my fellow service members because they are my brothas and sistas and that’s the path they chose. I just wish “we” would learn to not judge those who share the same struggle. But I know thats lightyears from being reality.
What do yall think? How do you feel about black people serving in the US military?
Let’s talk! Comment below and also check out the conversation on my Facebook page Carmen Roxanna “Unwritten TV”