How Does the Black Soldier Fit Into a Foreign War?

A look at the fight Black people in the military must have both overseas and at home

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Ukraine is in crisis. Once again, its eastern neighbor Russia is challenging its sovereignty as a nation by mobilizing its military at the border. A situation like this would certainly spell doom for most other small countries, but luckily for Ukraine, they've made some powerful friends. Several members of the UN have committed resources to aid the minor nation in its time of need. Particularly the US, which (as of the writing of this article) has deployed 8,500 troops inside of Ukraine. Among them, Black soldiers.

The existence of the Black soldier has always been a strange one. On one hand, they’ve been seen as a symbol of transracial patriotism. On the other hand, they’ve also been seen as expendable and not soldiers at all. But if you ask these men and women how they want to be seen, more than likely, they’ll say, “As an American.”

The United States' military prides itself on diversity and equal opportunity within its ranks. But that hasn't always been the case for the Black and Brown soldier. Even from the start of the Revolutionary War, there has always been a strong understanding that African American troops were "negro” before soldiers. Over the years, this sentiment manifested itself in several ways. From Black battalions being used for nothing but hard labor early during the Civil War, to Black veterans being lynched in their uniforms after returning home during World War 1, to drafting Black men at disproportionately high rates during the Vietnam War, the United States has made it quite clear that the color of your skin is matters more than the color of your uniform.

Though the country has grown more progressive and tolerant during these past few decades, racism is very much alive today and still plaguing people of color throughout America. That includes those serving our country.