African American Men and Opportunity in the Navy

Personal Histories of Eight Chiefs


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About the Book

The United States military is often presented as a model of equal-opportunity employment. In this work, the author examines and challenges this assertion with respect to the Navy. Dunklin studies Navy claims of meritocracy and training processes, profiles the careers of eight senior enlisted African American servicemen, and examines barriers to African American inclusion. First-hand accounts and interviews provide insight into the coping mechanisms and struggles of African Americans in the Navy. The author concludes by offering suggestions to improve the Navy equal opportunity environment.

About the Author(s)

The late Arthur L. Dunklin was retired from the United States Navy and a former Equal Opportunity Manager at San Jose State University in California. He wrote on such issues as diversity and social justice.

Bibliographic Details

Arthur L. Dunklin
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 184
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3699-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8261-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. Equal Opportunity and Meritocracy in Practice: Inclusion or Exclusion      7
Claims of Meritocracy in the U.S. Military      7
Meritocracy in the U.S. Navy: Principles and Stated Policies      10
Coping in Organizations of, by, and for Others      16
Summary      19

2. Life and Career in the U.S. Navy      20
Military Training      21
The Promotion Process      22
Mentorship      25

3. Participants’ Profiles      28
Chief Andrews      29
Chief Butler      35
Chief Carter      48
Senior Chief Evanston      54
Senior Chief Gregg      61
Chief Hines      71
Master Chief Ivans      81
Master Chief James      94

4. Barriers to Full Inclusion      108
The Good Ol’ Boys’ Network      109
The In-Group: A View from the Outside      111
The Exceptional Negro      115
Questioning Competence      116
Affirmative Action: Misperceptions of
“Reverse Discrimination”      118
Limited Black Role Models      120

5. Mentorship      123
The Navy’s Formal Mentorship Program      124
Informal Mentorship      127

6. Meritocracy or Myth of Meritocracy?      130

7. Resilience: How They Coped      139
Overachieving      142
Adaptation      143
Minimization      145
Self-Definition      147

8. Profiles in Struggle and Service      152
Competence Questioned      153
In-Group/Out-Group      154
Limited Role Models      156
But They Coped      157
Negative Feelings      160

9. Implications for Navy Policies: A Prescription for Change      161
Reassess the Current State      162
Leadership Top-Down: Create an Equal Opportunity Climate      164
Revise the Current Evaluation System      165
Eliminate the “Just Like Me” Factor      165
Conclusion      166

References      169
Index      175