By B. Robinson

About one year ago, released a commentary: “Dark Clouds or Sunshine? The Black Economics of War.” It discussed the economic nature of war, and how Black Americans might benefit from war.

One of the most salient parts of the commentary states:

In today’s world, Black Americans should recognize that war is very much an economic opportunity. The national economy, major industrial concerns, large risk management enterprises, small contractors, and soldiers all stand to benefit economically from US wars. Unfortunately, mainly due to Black America’s role in the US economy, our best opportunities to benefit from war are primarily at the small contractor and soldier levels.

A more important point from last year’s commentary that takes us closer to the reason for this commentary is:

“…we know that soldiers—especially Black soldiers—are tools of autocrats and plutocrats who set America’s war agenda. Inevitably, Black American soldiers are praised for their service and used up in foreign wars, and then abused socially and economically when they return home.”

So, what is the point of this commentary? It concerns DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). It turns out that, increasingly, Black Americans are interpreting properly DEI’s results. That is, DEI is purposely expanding bureaucratic structures that feint at increasing

In support of this statement see: “Economic Consequences of War on the US Economy” from the Institute for
Economics & Peace (2011),
Consequences-of-War-on-US-Economy_0.pdf (Ret. 022522); and Linda J. Bilmes (2021), “Where Did the $5 Trillion Spent on Afghanistan and Iraq Go? Here’s Where,” TheGuardian; (Ret. 022422). Also consider that internal research at revealed that the cultural capital acquired during military service can improve economic life outcomes for soldiers.
Besides Worldwide Technologies, is unaware of large Black-owned and controlled firms that benefit significantly from US military operations. Given the volume of small Black American (nonemployer) firms, it is possible that some may capture opportunities to serve as contractors for the US military. As highlighted in footnote 1, soldiers of war and their beneficiaries can benefit significantly from war

DEI, but DEI “programs” fail to fulfill Black Americans’ expectations of DEI: More Black American labor in high compensation jobs.

While most angst and anger about DEI is directed at educational institutions, non-defense government agencies, and private corporations, it is ironic that DEI programs continue to fail to actually produce improved DEI outcomes within US military ranks.

Why ironic? Because, as you may know, the US military, was the first American institution formally and forcibly “integrated” during World War II.

Yet today, while Black Americans comprise about 14 percent of the US population and 17.2 percent of US Active-Duty personnel, Black military officers at the O4-O10 ranks (from Majors to Generals) comprise only 8.2 percent of all Active-Duty officers.

This reality should remind us that even though a Black man, former Four-Star Army General Lloyd Austin, now serves as Secretary of Defense and continues a rich but limited history of Blacks at the top of the US military apparatus, the military has retained its “good ole boys” practices. Moreover, we should be concerned that, if the currently undeclared war between Blacks and Whites in America becomes a declared war, the US military will certainly side with White interests.

Also, this commentary is to clarify that DEI is a lukewarm and diluted replica and replacement for “Affirmative Action” (and its follow-on “Equal Opportunity”), which was an effective tool that generated many tangible and practical benefits for Black Americans until it was dismantled by Bakke.5

Most importantly, Black Americans should realize that DEI is another in the pantheon of tactics that have been purposely employed by Whites to hint at efforts to improve outcomes, but which are initially or ultimately designed to create and/or preserve opportunities for Whites and to limit diversity, prevent equity, and ensure against the expansion of inclusion of Black Americans in the nation’s economic life.