A GOP Senate candidate claims that the military has been ‘colorblind’ for ‘almost 200 years,’ but the armed services were desegregated in 1948

Sean Parnell
Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Sean Parnell.

  • Senate candidate Sean Parnell said that the military has been “colorblind” for “almost 200 years.”
  • The military was not formally desegregated until President Harry Truman issued an executive order in 1948.
  • On Fox News, Parnell railed against critical race theory, blasting it as a divisive discipline.
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For generations, millions of US soldiers have fought valiantly for the country, hoping to defend democratic freedoms across the world.

However, for much of the early 20th Century, the military was racially segregated, with its formal integration put into place by President Harry Truman in 1948.

During Friday’s episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, Sean Parnell, a veteran and GOP candidate for the 2022 Pennsylvania US Senate race, had an intense discussion with host Tucker Carlson about comments made by Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, related to critical race theory.

At a Wednesday congressional hearing, Milley rejected the notion that reading about different ideologies or disciplines means that one endorses those viewpoints.

Critical race theorists have examined how America’s history of racism continue to reverberate through laws and policies that exist today.

“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned or non-commissioned officers of being, quote, woke or something else because we’re studying the same theories that are out there,” he said at the time.

He added: “I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open minded and be widely read.”

Carlson opined on the issue (starting at 3:25 in the video below), expressing that “from the outside in, the US military seems like by far the least racist institution in American life” and “has been for many decades.”

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Parnell was animated in his response to Carlson.

“It’s absolutely true,” he said. “We have been a colorblind culture in the United States military for almost 200 years. We’ve gotten a lot of things right. Keep your politics and your social experiments out of our military, and let us focus on what we were always intended to do – protecting the United States of America and winning wars.”

In 1948, Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which mandated that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”

However, even in the early 1960s, Black soldiers continued to grapple with discrimination in the military, especially off base, according to a New York Times report.

Douglas Bristol, a history professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, told The Times that changes were “a very gradual thing.”

“Most bases are in the South,” he said. “You can train year round. The congressmen there get re-elected forever, so they have tremendous clout. And in the South, segregation is the law.”

The problems were so pervasive that in 1962 then-President John F. Kennedy summoned a President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity in the Armed Forces, also referred to as the Gesell Committee, to correct policies and deficiencies that continued to perpetuate racial discrimination.

Bristol told The Times that in the years since the turbulent 1960s, the military has become a leader on issues of equity.

“The commanders who were supporters of segregation, there’s just no place for them anymore,” he said.

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Rep. Ruben Gallego pushes for the VA to strip benefits from service members, veterans who stormed Capitol

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., speaks as the House reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) speaks as the House reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College vote from Arizona, after insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

  • Rep. Gallego wants service members who participated in the Capitol riot to lose their benefits.
  • He said the group’s actions are “not representative of the large population of American veterans.”
  • Nearly 20 percent of the individuals charged in the riot had a military background, per NPR.
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Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, a Marine Corps veteran, last week called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough to withdraw benefits from active-duty service members, veterans, or military retirees who participated in the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.

“The behavior of these individuals is not representative of the large population of American veterans, the vast majority of whom served honorably and are appalled by the thought of insurrection in the country they served,” he wrote in a letter. “Yet, many of the veterans and service members who attacked their own government actively and enthusiastically enjoy benefits not available to their fellow citizens.”

Such benefits include access to disability compensation, more affordable healthcare options, and vocational opportunities.

Gallego added: “This situation is unjust. Any retiree or service member who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 forfeited their moral entitlement to the support of the people of the United States.”

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Nearly 20 percent of the individuals charged in the riot had a military background, according to an NPR report.

Gallego, a member of the US House Armed Services Committee, asked McDonough to work with Attorney General Merrick Garland to identify the riot participants, citing 38 U.S. Code ยง 6104 as a rationale to withdraw benefits.

Section 6104 of the US code covers benefits for veterans and their dependants.

In addition to McDonough, Gallego also sent letters to Garland, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Secretary of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Federal prosecutors have already charged more than 300 people for their involvement with the attack, with more individuals expected to face federal charges.

In his personalized letter, Gallego asked Austin and Mayorkas to “quickly identify, investigate and prosecute any active service member or retiree who participated in the attack.”

He added: “Insurrectionists should not enjoy benefits they no longer deserve.”

During the insurrection, Gallego, who served in the Iraq War, sheltered several members of the media in his office.

Five people died during the violent rioting spree, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, in what was the most significant breach of the US Capitol since 1814.

Read the original article on Business Insider