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HomeWRN VoicesThe Coast Guard Academy’s Newest DEI Push

The Coast Guard Academy’s Newest DEI Push

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By Michael R. Shevock

DEI is a bad idea. It is divisive, racist, and anti-meritocratic. Coleman Hughes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali , Elon Musk, and a host of other first-rate minds have vigorously come out against it.  Yet, our Coast Guard leadership continues to promote it without discussion or debate. For an objective observer, that should be the first clue that something is very, very wrong.

Supporters of this ideology are fond of the term ‘cultural competence,’ which they seem to believe is obtainable in a seminar or a classroom, but there are other paths to knowledge. For example, I enjoyed twenty-eight years in federal law enforcement, which, among other things, afforded me familiarity with the inside of a crack-house. Here are are some things I learned first-hand:

(1) Underclass black America is indeed suffering unacceptable levels of violence and generational poverty;

(2) Malcolm X was absolutely correct when he identified white liberals as an impediment to the progress of black America;

(3) the most pernicious condition afflicting underclass black America, yielding drug use, poverty and crime, is the lack of fathers in the home; and

(4) the dominance of the progressive/postmodern agenda, of which DEI is a cornerstone, is almost solely to blame for the pitiful state of our urban poor.

For the first hundred years after the Civil War, black America made the astonishing transition from chattel slavery to the beginning of a thriving middle class. This amazing achievement hit a stone wall, concurrent with the advent of Lyndon Johnson’s welfare state. Eminent economist Dr. Thomas Sowell documents how, after a century of black families remaining basically intact, the 1960s saw a sharp (and continuing) decline in the number of black, two parent families.  Dr. Sowell could not put it more clearly when he says, “The welfare state is no favor to the blacks.

Tragic fact #1:

The original manifesto of Black Lives Matter specifically stated, “We disrupt the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages.’”

Our credentialed DEI experts, products all of the grievance studies pipeline in academia, are promoting a deeply flawed narrative.  The bedrock assumption upon which all their ideas rest is that certain communities of color are being held back (oppressed) by patriarchal white supremacy. As per philosopher Eric Hoffer, a movement can succeed without a god, but not without a devil.

As it turns out, their guiding belief melts in the presence of the little-known fact that black immigrants from Nigeria are outperforming the U.S. national average both in terms of education and earned income.  There are also compelling claims that they’re underrepresented in the prison system.

Additionally, using the same criteria of educational achievement and earned income, of the six main ethnic/racial groups in the U.S.: whites, Hispanics, blacks, East Asians, West Asians (Indians & Pakistanis), and Native Americans, whites do not even land in the top two.

One would expect so-called advocates for underclass black America to trumpet these facts from the mountaintops, as they clearly and thoroughly destroy any suggestion of racial superiority of whites, but that would only apply if said advocates were actually interested in the welfare of the people they claim to care about. The boogey-man of white supremacy is a terrific gravy-train.

Tragic fact #2:

At the University of Virginia in 2023, the Chief Diversity Officer and the VP for DEI both received annual compensation packages valued in excess of at $520,000.

To demonstrate the degree of scholarly rigor in the DEI community, I draw on the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association.  It maintains a website with a DEI section.  Despite my repeated complaints over a period of years about factual and grammatical failings in said website, one can still find the following definitions:

Systemic Racism: Systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantages (sic) African Americans(.)”

Minoritized:  …  As used by the Coast Guard Academy, an adverb (sic) deliberately used to describe cadets of color or underrepresented minorities (URM) that refers to the actions (intended or unintended) taken by institutions that lead to the socially constructed minoritization of racial and gender and other groups that make up our diverse community.”

Race: A social construct, meaning the notion of race was created by people. As a scientific tool for categorizing different types of human beings’ “race” has no value (sic). …”

Tragic fact #3

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the sickle cell anemia trait is inherited, and is present in babies born of Sub-Saharan African heritage (i.e. black) at a rate over ten times higher than babies of Hispanic heritage, over twenty times higher than babies born of European (white) heritage, and over thirty times greater than babies born of Asian heritage.  Apparently, our DEI experts do not know medical research qualifies as science.

(And, finally, this nugget that our social justice experts mysteriously believe belongs on the DEI portion of the website.)

Intrusive Leadership:  A leadership style that is not about analyzing your direct reports and reading them and jumping to conclusions. It is simply about getting to know them. This is a skill but can be developed with practice. It is important to be patient because you are also establishing trust and rapport with them. Intrusive leadership is not about analyzing your direct reports and reading them and jumping to conclusions. It is simply about getting to know them (sic).”

These examples are not offered merely to show that many of our social justice experts could not pass for competent fourth graders, but also to highlight how the magical stamp of ‘DEI’ inoculates flawed scholarship from being challenged. Cue the Coast Guard Academy’s new initiative, the CGA Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan 2024-2026.  It runs the gamut from cringe-comedy to disturbing.

A line edit would have helped – there are instances of inconsistent spelling and capitalization. Small ideas are camouflaged with academic buzzwords such as, “effective modalities” and “robust pedagogies.”

The real humor, however, is how too much DEI is never enough. Every conceivable component of the academy is relentlessly tasked with making DEI a prime objective. Finally, we’ll have an “Athletic Cultural Competence Initiative.”  In addition to mysteriously demanding input from academy components not directly involved in sports, it will require coaches to hold “Cultural Competence sessions.”   No, really: in the plural. I’m trying to picture how this would go. “Hey guys, I mean, ‘team,’ I’ve been noticing how some of you come in different colors, which is okay because we’re inclusively inclusive, and diverse diversity is our strength, and also really diverse, which we all know is an imperative for victory.  And equity. We’re all about equity. Lots and lots of equity. Any questions?”  One thing for certain, it won’t be awkward.

Just kidding. It’s going to be awful. Only someone pitifully disconnected from reality could think this is a good idea. Much of private industry is already backing away from ad nauseum diversity training because it has been shown they make interracial relations worse, not better.

The CGA initiative is suffering from a common failing among the over-educated, and that is confusing quantifiable effort with progress.

But amidst the clown-like silliness, the plan turns dark. In addition to setting a goal of attracting prospective cadets who are “DEI-mature” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), it states that candidates for prospective faculty positions shall be assessed “on cultural competence including their diversity, equity & inclusion philosophy.”

Stalin and Mao would laughingly recognize this demand for intellectual conformity, and it is evil. Reasonable minds must be allowed to disagree, at least privately. Mandating that faculty candidates provide in advance a declaration of mental obedience absolutely guarantees we’ll be hiring liars. Lying is poison to the soul. It’s a one-way door, through which one surrenders his or her capacity to stand up for principle. Is this the type of officer we’re hoping will populate the service? I fear we’re already halfway there.

Perhaps the worst thing about the Coast Guard’s position on DEI is how it does not allow for discussion or examination. I wholly appreciate the sentiment behind the movement, but the idea breaks down and turns sour when we assign the absurd goal of massaging standards to immediately yield proportional representation of all ethnic/racial groups.

Tragic fact #4:

According to the Brookings Institute, on the SAT math exams in 2019, only 7% of black test-takers scored at least 600, contrasted with 11%, 31%, and 62% of Hispanic, white, and Asian test-takers, respectively.

What this means, is that for every black high school senior with at least minimal academic qualifications, there will be at least three Hispanics, four Asians, and eighteen whites. To expect the Coast Guard Academy to attract proportional-to-population numbers of black high school students (i.e. 13%) who are also qualified to be admitted in the immediate short term would require individual members from the qualified pool of black candidates to apply with a greater proportional frequency than the other groups by a factor of three.  This will never happen.

The service academies are competing with all the other elite institutions for qualified applicants, especially those that improve their optics. There are simply not enough qualified black and brown minorities to satisfy the demand. It’s tempting to bend entry standards, but, contrary to the fashionable myth, performance on the SAT exams is the best indictor of academic success in college.

Aside from degrading the effectiveness of the service, dropping standards for minority cadets will yield the perverse effect of casting doubt on the capability of all minority officers, increasing resentment on both sides, guaranteeing the opposite overall result of what DEI was originally supposed to accomplish.

By making a commitment to DEI a career imperative, the Coast Guard has disincentivized both honesty and common sense. The collective and damning absence of those qualities can be found in the Coast Guard’s reprehensible and ongoing  Fouled Anchor scandal.  God help us.

To erase the glaring disparities in achievement of certain groups, America needs to honestly address the root causes of dysfunction and failure, and that will require our leaders in academia and government to acknowledge that the current set of assumptions is bogus. Any objective examination of the numbers bears that out. Instead of studying grifters like Ibram X. Kendi, leaders of every stripe would be well-served to read the life story of Robert Smalls, who escaped slavery in the Civil War and, through amazing heroism, became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.  After the war, he opened a school for former slaves, got elected as a state senator, and worked to make free education available to all South Carolina children. He earned the rank of major general in the state militia and was elected 3to five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. His monument in the Beaufort cemetery bears this quote which he spoke to the South Carolina legislature:

“My race needs no special defense, for the past history of them in this country proves them to be the equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life.”

The sons and daughters of Africa have already performed amazing feats, with many more to come. DEI is a counter-productive insult to everyone.


Michael R. Shevock is a 1976 of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Following graduation, he served three years afloat in the Bering Sea, and four years with Coast Guard Intelligence. From there, he worked as a criminal investigator/special agent with the Naval Investigative Service, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Department of Homeland Security.

This article was originally published by RealClearDefense and made available via RealClearWire.
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