Clemson’s Military and Veteran Engagement program will host a virtual dialogue and discussion about race in the military and veteran communities at noon on Tuesday, November 10.

Seven Soldiers stand in Death Valley with their backs to the camera, long shadows stretched toward the viewer

Seven Army ROTC cadets stand in formation in Death Valley during the 2019 Military Appreciation Game.

The event, titled “Camouflage has Many Colors: Discussing Race in the Military and Veteran Communities,” will aim to take on this important topic that is seldom discussed. Facilitators DeOnte Brown, assistant dean of students, and Brennan Beck, director of Military & Veteran Engagement, will help facilitate the conversation around a few key topics and offer resources and next steps for participants to continue the conversation.

Beck, a former Army Soldier and recipient of the Bronze Star for Valor for actions during combat in Iraq, explained that U.S. military jargon often minimizes the personal identities of the individuals serving in uniform, prioritizing the focus on their uniform, rank and positions. It assumes a stance that race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, religious affiliation or any other identifier have no meaning in the Profession of Arms. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces are trained to act under the simple, iron-clad motto, “One team, one fight.”

“In the U.S. military, it is often said that ‘We Only See Green,’” said Beck. “While perhaps well-intended and designed to be a post-racial, hyper-progressive stance, how does it actually play out in reality? Is the military truly post-racial? Do all service members have the same access and opportunity to promotions, awards and resources? Do our veteran service organizations accurately represent the diversity of our veteran populations? Many would argue not, and data often supports that argument.”

The event is open to Clemson faculty, students and staff, who can register for it here.