In nature, most seals are black, with relatively few white ones. The Navy's SEALs have exactly the opposite problem -- they're overwhelmingly white, with hardly any blacks. So they're trying to do something about it.
What? I don't even know where to start on this one. Great, racist analogy TIME. The real question is: Why does it matter what color the skin of a Navy SEAL is so long as they complete the training to become a Navy SEAL in the first place? TIME wonders how in the world an elite volunteer force could ever be made of up mostly white males.
It's a fundamental challenge in a democracy with an all-volunteer force: recruits may be drawn from all segments of society, but elite military units -- and none is more elite these days than the SEALs, following their dispatch of Osama bin Laden last May -- tend to draw from small pools of talent. For the SEALs, that includes athletic young men who are smart and good in the water. For whatever reason, that has led to an overwhelmingly white SEAL force.
Answer? Because they qualified to be Navy SEALs by completing the most rigorous training program in the world. If you don't know the details of the training, I suggest you read Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor. SEAL training is hell on earth and you don't get through it to become one of the most elite fighting machines the world has ever known by skipping the line because you happen to be a minority. It doesn't work that way. It's simple: If you qualify, you qualify, regardless of skin color.
The worst part? The Navy seems to be falling into the political correctness trap and entertaining the idea of recruiting based on skin color first, skill second.
The SEALs are considering hiring help to attract thousands of "minority males in the 16–24 year-old target age range" to become SEALs. "This contract will create a mechanism to enhance Naval Special Warfare's ability to conduct outreach, raise awareness, mentor, and increase self-selection to a career as a SEAL within minority communities," a recently-posted draft contract solicitation says.
At best, the TIME article is racist in two ways: 1) saying current Navy SEALs are too white 2) implying that minorities aren't good enough on their merits and hard to work to become a SEAL so they should be let in based on their skin color instead.
Regardless, there is one nugget of sense in the piece:
U.S. special operators have long acknowledged they face challenges mixing in with foreign populations because they look so American. The SEALs acknowledge as much: "Traditional SEAL Team demographics will not support some of the emerging mission elements that will be required," it says.
Good point, however the argument should have been framed as, "The Navy needs more minority candidates in order to complete missions in the Middle East and Africa more effectively." Instead, the current argument that the Navy is "too white" makes the recruitment of minority candidates look like affirmative action rather than a strategic move.
When I go see Act of Valor tomorrow, I'll be sure to count the number of white guys vs. minorities in the film and document the blatant discrimination. Not.