Monday, December 27, 2004
Counter-Recruiting the 'Hispanic Market'
Military recruiters often dismiss claims that they target specific minority groups on the basis of race or ethnicity. While this may be true in principle, it is also true that targeting is done on the basis of class and the degree to which young people have or do not have a wide range of economic and educational opportunities. Given long-standing structures in U.S. society, the "class-bias" in recruiting produces "racial" consequences although the group that continues to pay a high cost in Iraq (as in Vietnam) is the "white" working or lower middle class.
Although African Americans have been overrepresented in the military since the late 1970s, their numbers have declined steadily since 2000. This would suggest that in the case of Black youth a political analysis of how the U.S. military is being used trumps economic necessity (a lesson that the Latino community may or may not learn).
On the declining numbers of Blacks in the military, see:
The article at the link below tells us something about the lack of options for rural working class youth in Colorado, many of whom are Mexican American:
pull quote: "What we're hearing from people is that some of (the enthusiasm for the military) is they're just more patriotic out there," said Cushing. "But you have to ask what do these rural kids have in common with inner-city blacks and Hispanics? . . . limited opportunities."