Good news for the 16 Black women set to graduate from The United States Military Academy at West Point.
The young ladies came under fire for raising their fists in unison while posing for an Old Corps photograph that some felt was problematic based on stipulations around activities conducted while in uniform.
On Tuesday, the school announced that none of the women will be punished. The gesture was intended to show “unity, solidarity and pride,” and did not violate Army regulations that prohibit engaging in partisan political activities while in uniform, the NY Times reports upon the conclusion of West Points investigation.
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In a letter to cadets, superintendent, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. wrote, “As members of the Profession of Arms, we are held to a high standard, where our actions are constantly observed and scrutinized in the public domain… We all must understand that a symbol or gesture that one group of people may find harmless may offend others. As Army officers, we are not afforded the luxury of a lack of awareness of how we are perceived.”
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West Point is composed of mostly White (70 percent) male (80 percent) cadets and struggles with balancing diversity while maintaining its need for uniformity.
“It’s hard; these young cadets have a lot of demands put on them,” said Mary Tobin, a 2003 graduate active in minority recruiting. “You have to manage perception and be very careful in ways other students their age don’t.”
What are your thoughts on the controversy; did the students’ gesture violate ethics of wearing a uniform or is it much ado about nothing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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