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30 April 2015 @ 03:30 pm
My Thoughts on Black People and the Military (+Story)  
So I've never been the biggest fan of the military. As a teenager I was against the war in Iraq, but I never really thought too much about the military. A guy I was crushing on was planning on going in and me being all Bella-like was prepared to be a military wife. So no at that point I didn't really have anything against going into the military.

But the events of the past few years plus my self learning into how black Americans are treated in this country have really made me gain more of an opinion on this topic. I was reading a post on FB about a black woman that supposedly committed suicide while enlisted. But it all the clues didn't add up. She may or may not have been murdered. But the military, the people she was basically giving her life for closed the case. They agreed with the coroner.

Now some you may know that my boyfriend has been planning to enlist in the National Guard. When he told me I was afraid. I didn't want him to go because I didn't want to lose him. At that point I wasn't necessarily thinking about the fact that he would be a black man in the military. But as I got home and processed it more I started to ruminate. You would have to be under the deepest rock in the sea to not notice at how many black people are being killed in America. It's not just black men though they are more visible. I don't understand why as a black person you would enlist in a army to defend a country that does not care about you. I just don't. I'm sure we as black people feel patriotic just like everyone else. But for me that does not extend to my life on the line for a country that would spit on my grave. Just no.

One of my LJ friends asked me to post the story I sent to my boyfriend. It's a very short story but it seems up what I wrote above in a fictional way.

Back at One by Destiny Williams

“You what?”

They were eating dinner. She hadn’t cooked but her mother had. Mercifully the woman had left them to their devices after imploring them to eat their fill.

“I’m enlisting.”

She chewed and swallowed the salty pork chop. He was looking intently at her. He hadn’t put down his fork.

She shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. She reached for her glass.

“But why?” She mumbled.

“We’re at war,” he said.

She rolled her eyes. She would never had expected him to be a patriot. “America is at war.”

He sighed. “Don’t start this again.”

“The war is useless,” she said.

Neither of them wanted to get into the politics surrounding the war. Not right now. They’d been down this road before. They always headed in separate directions.

They turned back to their plates. Ursula took out her frustrations on the meat while Mahir picked over his rice. She kept glancing up at him hoping to catch his eye but he never looked up.

“You know I don’t want you to go,” she said finally. There it was out. The bare truth.

“I know,” he said.

“And you’re still going to go?”

He looked up then. His light brown eyes looked into her dark ones.


She smashed the palm of her hand on the table. The glasses rattled.

“Honey?” Her mother’s voice called. “Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine Mom,” she called back.

She stood up and picked up her plate. She managed to get the glass in the crook of her arm and walked with both of them to the sink. They didn’t have a dishwasher. Her mother didn’t believe in dishwashers.

She heard him come up behind her. He sat his stuff down.

“It won’t be that bad.”

She dumped the soap into the plate. “Yes, it will.”

He reached out to touch her shoulder but she leaned away. He sighed.

“What if you don’t come back?”

“You were always such a pessimist Ursula.”

She gritted her teeth. “I’m not a fucking pessimist. I’m being realistic. Some people go off to war and don’t come back. I’m being rational.”

He laughed at that. “That’s right. My rational, methodical Ursula Barnes.”

She smiled despite herself. He had an annoying habit of making her laugh at inopportune times.

She turned off the water and turned to him. She looked at him. She started to catalogue his feature. The high cheekbones, the wide lips, the dopey eyes, the dark skin. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to remember him if he never came back. Why couldn’t he understand that? Why couldn’t he understand that she was terrified?

“I don’t want you to go,” she said again. “I’m scared.”

He took her into his arms. “I’m afraid too. But I want to do this.”

She clutched his back. “I don’t understand why.”

She could hear his laugh rumble in his chest. He was warm and smelled of freshly laundered clothes.

“I don’t even understand why myself,” he said. “I guess deep down I feel a responsibility to this country.”

“Even if it doesn’t feel a responsibility to you?” She said. She looked up at him.

He nodded. “Still. Idiotic right?”

She nodded. “Yeah. But that’s how you’re wired.”

He pulled her closer. “I’ll come back.”

“You can’t promise that.”

“I know,” he said. “But we can both choose to believe it.”

She laid her head against his chest. Yes she could believe that. No matter how utterly nonsensical it was. He had never lied to her she told herself. So he would come back. And their lives together would continue.

A bell started to ring.

“I guess that’s my cue,” he said. He took a step back.

He kissed her on the cheek before turning to leave. She followed him through the living room like a puppy while he put on his jacket and gloves. He pulled his hat down over his head and opened the front door.

“You’ll come back tomorrow?” She asked.

He smiled. “Of course. I always do.”

This entry can also be found on DW at: http://leia-solo.dreamwidth.org/685190.html
Patriciabookishgeek on April 30th, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing her story - I really like it. I understand your feelings about Martel, too. Has this been a lifelong goal of his?
Astraealady_leia_solo on April 30th, 2015 09:03 pm (UTC)
Kinda. He had planned to enlist in 2008, but then his mom died. I think it has been a goal of his for awhile.
Julie: Sleepy Hollow ★ beyondragnarok_08 on April 30th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for sharing the story.
Astraealady_leia_solo on May 2nd, 2015 02:12 am (UTC)
My pleasure :)
night_owl_9: Saya Kisaragi - worth all of itnight_owl_9 on May 1st, 2015 01:35 am (UTC)
I don't blame you for your feelings about Martel.

Thank you for sharing your story!
Astraealady_leia_solo on May 2nd, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
He is like my lifeline. I'm so afraid of losing him.
Kimsaturnsdaughter on May 2nd, 2015 01:25 am (UTC)
It doesn't make sense to me either. Everyone has their own reasons, but I feel like it's rooted in the idea/hope that if you literally spend blood, sweat, and tears for your country, then maybe you'll finally matter (to "them"). But once you take the uniform off, you're just another black person and in just as much danger as any civilian. It doesn't seem worth it.
Astraealady_leia_solo on May 2nd, 2015 02:10 am (UTC)
I honestly that's the case half of the time along with the benefits as someone on my DW said.