AVOIDING RACIAL TENSION
Blacks, Jews, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, East and West Indians, Orientals, and Native Americans
all constitute minority groups in America. They are minority groups in the sense that they have been
discriminated against by institutions, other groups, and by individuals. Yet all have made significant
contributions to the development of our country.
From the point of view of cultural heritage, the Army is simply American society in microcosm.
Soldiers of every cultural heritage find their way into the Army--at every level. Thus the Army like the
rest of American society is pluralistic, multicultural environment. Because you live and work in a
pluralistic Army/military environment, you automatically live and work with a great diversity of racial,
religious, and social groups--and the deeply embedded prejudices associated with each.
Pluralism is a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious or social
groups maintain an autonomous participation in their traditional culture within the confines of a
common civilization. In this case, the common civilization is the US Army. So even though you may
be different socio-culturally, you share something in common - a military environment.
Your ability to get along with and work successfully with a variety of personality types and
members of both sexes will serve You well in the military. Success hinges on your ability to develop a
spirit of tolerance, flexibility, and good will toward men and women soldiers from a variety of
Other soldiers in your unit may have cultural heritages, concerns, and lifestyles that are
somewhat different from yours. Their prejudices (we all have some) will be different from yours, too.
Some of the provincial attitudes and approaches with which you have lived must now give way to a
spirit of tolerance, flexibility, and good will.
Despite an atmosphere of good will on the part of the majority of soldiers in your unit, prejudice
and racial tension can still be perpetuated in the unit by a few "bad apples" especially if they are in
leadership or high visibility positions. Women are likely to be plagued by the same type of prejudices
and patronizing behavior which has caused problems and anguish for minorities.