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Task Force Report Looks At Discriminations In Navy’s Ranks

 February 5, 2021 at 12:05 PM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 The Navy has come out with its long awaited report on racial bias taskforce. One Navy was created in June after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police KPBS, military reporter, Steve Walsh says, despite critics saying the effort feels watered down. Navy leadership says they intend to create lasting change. Speaker 2: 00:21 There are only a handful of African American admirals or flag officers in the Navy and few people of color in some of the Navy's most celebrated communities, such as Naval aviation, where the head of the task force rear Admiral Alvin Halsy is from Speaker 3: 00:37 Be here at this point. One of the blind flag off the Navy is lonely spot. I think the name is committed. I think we can make some reasonable ground here in what we're doing. Speaker 2: 00:47 The task force, worried that their effort to root out discrimination would be caught up in the past. Administrations targeting of diversity training says Dr. Charles Barber, he's the consultant who worked on the report. Some things will now be put back into the draft. He says with a new attitude at the white house, Speaker 3: 01:04 Like, well, just, we had training to kind of talk about bias. We had some, some content that did talk a little bit about, uh, the concepts of, of, of white privilege and how discussion centered around, you know, white privilege. So those are the things that we want to put back in Speaker 2: 01:17 Critics say the report stresses, inclusion and diversity, but didn't look more directly at overt racism. John Clark is a recently retired commander who writes about his experience as an African American in the Navy. Speaker 3: 01:30 To me, what was disappointing, what was not in the report. And there was not a direct discussion of de facto racism and segregation of the current state of the Navy and why we are where we are, Speaker 2: 01:43 Uh, recently released 2017. Pentagon survey showed roughly one in five sailors and officers experienced racial or ethnic discrimination or harassment that year more than any other service. Clark says the Navy's process for filing discrimination complaints is Speaker 3: 02:00 Well, we have people in R and R services that don't want racism in our ranks, and they are willing to step up and root it out and speak up. But at the same time, you have some other people, mainly older white men that want to retain that position of power. Speaker 2: 02:16 Like a similar report at the Pentagon level, the Navy didn't address hate groups in the ranks. The report did look at reforms in Navy justice, but didn't recommend specific changes in the early 1970s during a period of racial unrest in the country and within the Navy itself, the head of the Navy Admiral Zumwalt is credited with a push to better integrate women and people of color into the service barber. The Navy's consultant admits that many of the reports that followed have sat on the shelf, but he plans this day on to administer their findings, which are based on dozens of focus groups held behind closed doors with sailors. Speaker 3: 02:54 You need to be able to continuously diagnose these things. Look at those gaps and approach prescribed Getwell plants work in working continuously, looking at culture all the time. So that way we can continuously make, make some progress. We don't want to keep talking about this stuff for years and years, Speaker 2: 03:07 Rear Admiral Halsy. The leader of the task force says a top priority now is to bring in more people of color and women into leadership roles. Speaker 3: 03:15 It's not a one and done. So imagine every six months, this, this issue is not going to go away. It's going to be a bit better than our, our training, uh, throughout the life of a sailor. And now senior leaders are being constantly engaged and pushing the turn levers on it. Speaker 2: 03:29 And he says, the problems won't go away because of a change in administration or the recent confirmation of the first African American secretary of defense for the Navy, it's all about readiness. He says people who cannot trust one another cannot easily come together. When it comes time to find Steve Walsh, KPBS news, Speaker 1: 03:50 This story was produced by the American Homefront project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans funding comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. Speaker 3: 04:11 [inaudible].

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Critics say Task Force One Navy did not go far enough to address open racism in the Navy.
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