The United States Army promoted its first black female Major General, Marcia Anderson. I don’t care what you think of the military or the current wars we are waging or of US foreign policy in general; this is a big deal, and it is badass that she made it this far, and I hope she keeps striving for higher. If you click on the previous link, you’ll see a lot of criticism of her promotion. Mostly, it’s about her lack of combat experience and, of course, about her being a woman and black, so it HAD to be Affirmative Action that got her job.
For the first nay-saying point, the Army is vast. She worked to keep garrison families together. That is just as important work as that on the front line. I’m a first-hand observer of in-theatre and garrison bases. There are many horror stories of how little it takes for a family whose bonds are stretched thousands of miles can suddenly snap and turn into chaos. It is not pretty, and it hurts the both sides and hinders the performance of our force. The work she does needs to be done even more. As a disenchanted liberal elitist New York Jew, I have many reservations about many of the conflicts we initiated in the name of freedom, but truly in the name of money, but I don’t deny the need for a military force. The world is ugly, people are a**holes, and if you have inadequate defence, those a**holes will kill you. If you don’t believe me, ask any Native American…well, one who hasn’t been slaughtered by settlers…too soon? Anyway, it takes strong people to pledge to lay down their lives in the name of their country, even if its policies are contrary to what they believe, and I have nothing but respect for them and their perseverance, no matter what role they play…except the bigoted ones. F*** those guys.
For the second point, Middle-finger U. I love how people paint Affirmative Action as this devious process where if there’s a position open, a recruiter just goes up to a random minority on the street and says, “Hey there, gimpy chick n***er, you want a job?”, and POOF! We have a new negro woman CEO, with a limp. Affirmative Action is intended to make sure that QUALIFIED minorities get the positions they deserve.
This is the love/hate relationship that every minority has with Affirmative Action: were it not for AA, a minority engineer with more qualifications than a white male engineer would be overlooked for a position. I know this because that is how it was for years, and it still happens now! Minorities have to work twice as hard to get half the credit their white male counterparts get.
However, it feels grotesquely patronising when we DO get into a certain position, because even though we know that we are qualified to do the job, there is this nagging notion in the back of our head: “Did I get this because I’m the best fit, or because they needed to fill a quota?” This notion is emboldened when we interact with our co-workers and we get some of the following exchanges:
HE: Welcome to [COMPANY]. So you got the tech position?
ME: Actually, I got the engineer position.
HE: Oh, congrats…so were you in the military?
HE: Well how did YOU get the job?
ME: I have a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
That happened at my first “career” job, about 3 to 4 times in my first two years, even though I found out I was making more per annum than my white college-hire colleagues, and I worked twice as hard. Then at my second job, this happened:
ME: [In a suit, manager of 15 people, directing two of them to do some work, a manager from another office approaches]
HE: [Talking directly to my employee] Hey, you’re in charge here, right? Can you have some of your employees [motioning toward me] move the workstations around a bit?
MY EMPLOYEE: I’ll have to clear that with my boss. Boss?
ME: I’ll see what I can do. My employees are busy right now, as you can see. By the way, I’m the head of the IT branch. Nice to meet you.
HE: [Blinks, bewildered]
Yes, HE, the massa’ let us read, an’ now we gets ta be duh boss too! My inclination let my id take over was quelled by both my employee’s respect and my own resolve to be a better person
Similarly, this happened to a female colleague:
SHE: …So we need to reconfigure the entire server for a new site.
HE: [EXACT WORDS] So how on earth did you get this job? This isn’t something someone like you [person with a vagina] would do.
SHE: …I applied for it. [Blood boils]
HE: I bet you didn’t know what you got yourself into, huh? [chuckles]
SHE: No, I did…because I applied for it.
HE: What’s your degree in? Biology? English? [She’s an engineer]
SHE: Electrical Engineering. I’m an engineer.
Presumably, SHE could have said/done a lot more, but ripping out a person’s larynx is not good office etiquette, especially since HE was a high-end boss.
The sine qua non is that a black woman busted her a** and broke yet another glass ceiling, and that's good for everyone. The reason why this is a big deal is because even now in 2011, our women and girls are bombarded by notions and ideas that they should use their sexuality, not their talent, to get what they want, they should be more expectant that someone will take care of them, and it’s cool to be a shallow, stupid, spoilt whore. Don’t believe me? Turn on “Jersey Shore” or “Real Housewives of [Insert City]”. Open a magazine. Or just go to the store and look at the girl’s toys section. There are lots of Bratz, pretty princess paraphernalia, and pixies and faeries. There was a time in the 80’s/90’s when Barbie was running for president and flying planes and being a paediatrician. Nowadays, she’s reverted back to being a useless princess or faerie unicorn rider. Women’s lives are much less valued in the real world too. How many front-page news stories are there about women? You usually have to go to the entertainment section to catch up on what someone is wearing, unless of course a pretty white girl goes missing or is killed. You never hear about the other 100 or so brown and yellow women who are suffering, though. The sex trafficking in this world is still rampant. They’re sold like property throughout all inhabited continents, including North America (stop denying it. You know it’s true). If they’re raped it’s still THEIR fault somehow.
If women are the n***ers of the world, then black woman are the n***ers of the n***ers of the world. Congratulations to Maj. General Marcia Anderson for breaking through all barriers to inspire us all to not be n***ers anymore.