Possibly this is what Pete Buttigieg was trying to say about empathy

Possibly this is what Pete Buttigieg was trying to say about empathy

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has actually taken flak from some African Americans for recommending that being gay helps him connect to the struggles of African Americans. Buttigieg, his critics say, is appropriating the black experience for his own selfish political agenda.

I’ll let them arrange that out. This I understand: Being black causes me to feel compassion with the LGBTQ neighborhood and others who are preyed on by bigotry.

Two situations pointed out in a column I composed on discrimination almost 30 years ago assisted shape my feelings.

From the very first:

” Men on board ship reside in especially close association; in their messes, one guy sits beside another; their hammocks or bunks are close together; in their typical jobs they work side by side; and in particular jobs such as those of a gun’s crew, they form a carefully knit highly coordinated group.

” The number of white guys would pick, of their own accord, that their closest partners in sleeping quarters, at mess, and in a weapon’s crew should be of another race? The number of would accept such conditions, if needed to do so, without resentment and just as a matter of course?”

These were not the musings of a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but the official declaration of the chairman of the General Board of the Navy to the secretary of the Navy, Jan. 16,1942 The topic: “Enlistment of guys of colored race in besides messman branch.”

Regarding the concern “how many white men would choose” associations with blacks, the General Board chairman stated “the answer is ‘few, if any’ and. if the concern were forced, there would be a lowering of satisfaction, teamwork and discipline in the service.”

That view dominated up until July 26, 1948, when President Harry S. Truman released an executive order that led to completion of racial segregation in the armed forces.

Then came this, 40 years after the Navy’s General Board spoke:

” Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The existence of such members negatively affects the ability of the Military Solutions to preserve discipline, excellent order, and spirits; to foster mutual trust and self-confidence among servicemembers. to help with task and around the world release of servicemembers who frequently need to live and work under close conditions paying for very little privacy.”– Defense Department Regulation 1332.14, Jan. 28, 1982.

That pernicious Defense Department regulation against gays counted on the same stereotyping and myths that supported the military’s bias versus African Americans.

The regulation was cited by U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch in his Dec. 9, 1991, decision to uphold the Navy’s right to expel a gay midshipman from the U.S. Naval Academy.

The midshipman was within months of finishing in the top 10 percent of his class. He was on tap for a distinguished postgraduate task on a nuclear submarine. His talents as a vocalist allowed him to sing the national anthem prior to the Army-Navy video game on nationwide TV during his senior year. He merely informed a schoolmate he was gay. Once he stated he was gay, he became unsuited to associate with his classmates.

The Defense Department was judging males and females not on the basis of their capability to perform as sailors, soldiers or Marines or serve in the Air Force, however solely because of a difference that must have been irrelevant: race in the first case, sexual preference in the second.

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a measure enabling gays to serve honestly in the armed force.

In 2015, President Trump enforced policies restricting Obama’s 2016 instruction allowing transgender service members to serve honestly.

Just specified, LGBTQ discrimination keeps close business with racism.

So, yes, since I have been and am on the receiving end of racial prejudice, I can relate to others who come down with bigotry.

That might discuss why I share, in an unique way, the revulsion, discomfort and anger felt by lots of Jewish neighborhood members over the profane and viciously anti-Semitic seven-second Snapchat video recently recorded by 2 George Washington College student.

And why I recoil at the sight of torch-wielding white nationalists in Charlottesville marching and chanting “Jews will not change us.” Change one word, and they are railing against me.

Eyes that glare at the sight of a hijab or turban or a brown migrant employee get just as irritated when someone looking like me gets in the space. I know what hostile looks seem like.

And as a black guy, I empathize with ladies who handle sexism in the work environment I’m not a #MeToo victim. But I know what it’s like to hear barbs that get passed off as jokes and to get talked over or down to in meetings.

Yes, I can connect to the battle of other groups. To feel otherwise is to be as callous as those who look the other way when blacks are in the bull’s eye.

Perhaps that’s what Mayor Pete was attempting to say.

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