Should they be disciplined?

The U.S. Military Academy, commonly known as West Point, launched an inquiry into a group of 16 black, female cadets set to graduate after they posed in a traditional group photo raising their fists – a gesture historically associated with black resistance.

The image prompted an investigation on 28 April to determine whether or not the women broke any rules, West Point spokesperson Lt Col Christopher Kasker said in a statement. Department of Defence guidelines prohibit soldiers and cadets from making political statements while in uniform or on military grounds.

This is a tricky one. The rules are a lot different for an individual wearing the uniform of the United States military, and the cadet uniform of West Point is most certainly that. The same rights that exist for a civilian don’t apply when one is in uniform. So should these future leaders of U.S. Army soldiers be punished for this picture? It’s not as easy as it appears at first glance. Let’s look at another, precedent-setting controversial photograph for some context.

Recall the case of the cadets from The Citadel from last Christmas. You remember that case, right? Photos appeared on social media of several cadets wearing white bedsheets. The internet promptly went apeshit over it, accusations of Klan membership were hurled, and all of the local racial shyster industry groups chimed in. Keep in mind, they were NOT in uniform.


It all turned out to be a big nothing. Investigators found that the students were trying to look like ghosts of Christmas past while caroling. I thought that was bullshit at first, but they found out the students had been dressing up in a bunch of other costumes as well, all appropriate to caroling and the theme that they claimed they were following. It made sense. So, everyone was cleared, right?

Wrong. It wasn’t that they did something wrong, it was the PERCEPTION that one could have upon seeing the photo. Because that is the first place that one’s mind goes upon seeing that picture—that it has something to do with the Klan. That’s certainly the first reaction I had upon seeing it, before the true story came out. That PERCEPTION was enough to get one student expelled from the school, two were suspended for a semester, and 11 others were forced to do extra duty, like walking tours and other cadet bullshit. Oh, and the school had to create a task force for “diversity and inclusion.” (This punishment was met with approval by aforementioned race hustlers.)