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