The Military's Diversity Myth
What stories does the military tell itself about its role in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and about its leadership in developing diverse and inclusive organizations? The military's diversity myth suggests that military organizations have been at the forefront of these efforts and that military leaders have largely figured out how to run diverse organizations. This myth is largely borne of Harry Truman's 1948 Executive Order on racial integration. But the history of military integration of Blacks, women, and LGBTQ people into its ranks is more complicated than the story the military tells itself. And in some cases, the myth is simply wrong. The story of military integration is not smooth or linear, and it extends well beyond the formal establishment of integration by executive order, law, or regulation. In fact, the military's diversity myth may even be harmful or counterproductive. This mythology has significant consequences for both military culture and policy, as it tells a feel-good story that does not comport with the lived experience of minoritized populations in the military. The military diversity myth exacerbates the civil-military divide and serves as a defensive shield against critique and oversight.
About this Lecture
Lectures of Opportunity offers U.S. Naval War College (NWC) students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to learn more about national and international socio-political subjects that may be of relevance to the NWC community.