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All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way by Charles C. Moskos

Colin Powell, the most respected leader in America, is no fluke. There are highly qualified blacks at every level of the US Army?seven percent of its generals, eleven percent of all officers, thirty-five percent of noncommissioned officers. Of the total Army, twenty-seven percent are Afro-Americans. The authors (one black, one white) make the point that the Army "is not race-blind; it is race-savvy." And so to get a proportionate number of black leaders, "the Army does not lower its standards, it elevates its recruits and soldiers." Having learned that "disadvantaged youths can be made to meet demanding standards," the Army has programs which bring young civilians up to enlistment standards, young soldiers up to NCO standards, undergraduates up to officer standards, and high school students up to West Point standards.

The Army has no use for a multicultural approach, in the sense that multicultural means separatist. What it draws on is the black bourgeois tradition of honoring education (most evident in the historically black colleges) and on the fact that American culture as a whole is highly black-influenced. There's no question of integration, and no question of talent. It's just a question of skills, and skills can be taught.

On page 49 is an intriguing item. Retiring black generals?the young Colin Powells?hardly ever "find a decent job in the private sector," unlike their white colleagues, who are snapped up by corporations, foundations, and universities. What a waste. And what an opportunity for a smart organization willing to look outside the usual head-hunting pool.

 

ISBN: 0465001130

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