Report shows that Black military members reprimanded, court martialed twice as much as whites
As institutionalized racism is slowly but surely being quantified at all levels of American society, the U.S. military has proven to be no different than any other sector.
On the heels of a Stanford study which shows that police officers are less respectful to African Americans, a new report reveals that Black troops are far more likely than whites to face court martial or other forms of military punishment.
Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy organization for victims of sexual assault and military justice, released their report today, and found that Black service members were as much as two times more likely than white troops to face discipline in an average year.
USA Today received an advance copy of the study, which reports that the Marine Corps and Air Force had the highest rates of disciplinary action against Black troops.
“Over the past decade, racial disparities have persisted in the military justice system without indications of improvement,” the report states. “These disparities are particularly striking for black service members, who face military justice or disciplinary action at much higher rates than white service members in every service branch. In fact, the size of the disparity between white and black service members’ military justices involvement has remained consistent over the years, and, in the case of the Air Force and Marine Corps has increased.”
In an average year, Black Marines were 2.6 times more likely than whites to receive a guilty finding at a general court martial, the military judicial proceeding for more serious offenses. The study also found that Black airmen were 71 percent more likely than whites in the Air Force to face court martial or non-judicial punishment, discipline meted out for less serious offenses.
Black soldiers were 61 percent more likely to face court martial than whites in the Army; and Black sailors were 40 percent more likely than whites in the Navy to be court martialed.
Many feel that the lack of diversity in military leadership contributes to the problem. In 2016, about 78 percent of military officers were white, and 8 percent were Black.
As with most other criminal justice disparities, Blacks are less often given the benefit of the doubt by those who do not look like them.