I was originally sent this power article by SOFREP reader Jerry “Ol’ Jer” Sullivan. I recognized its worth immediately coupled with the timing of both the D-Day anniversary and the ANTIFA-led riots that have derailed most peaceful demonstrations.
I sent Major General James H. “Mook” Mukoyama, Jr.’s article immediately to a key person in SOFREP, namely the Managing Editor Mr. Stavros Atlamazoglou. Stavros was quickly enamored by the piece and put me to work contacting Mook to obtain permission to post his piece on our web portal.
Mook granted immediate and unconditional buy-in, farther demonstrating his grace and character as a great American patriot. Please relish the opportunity to learn from the perspective of a great American of immense courage and devotion.
By God Almighty and with honor,
On the recent 76th Anniversary of the D-Day Normandy operation that led to the ultimate defeat of Fascism in Europe, I felt compelled to address an equally important battle for the future of our nation that is centered on the proposition that the United States of America is a nation that is systemically racist.
If there is one thing that the citizens of our nation agree upon during these times of unrest, it is that the death of George Floyd was a totally unjustifiable murder of one of our citizens by a police officer. And for those who feel that this act was representative of a problem in our society that needs to be addressed, it is their constitutional right and could be considered a duty, to assemble and protest. It is not their right to riot and destroy private and public property nor to commit other crimes such as robbery, assault, and murder thereby hijacking the purpose of legitimate legal peaceful protests.
The United States has always been and still remains a predominantly Judeo-Christian nation and, as such, in times such as this, people of faith are called to promote compassion, justice, love, peace, and healing. And I grieve and am praying for all of our fellow citizens who are angered, depressed, and suffering during this critical time in our nation.
My issue is with the ever-growing emphasis by the media and our educational institutions that systemic racism and resulting oppression is inherent in American society. There is no question that there are problems that certain segments of our society encounter every day. Unfortunately, society is comprised of sinful humans, both those in authority and those under the authority and we are simultaneously involved in spiritual warfare with the forces of evil every moment of every day.
I would purport that racism is not “systemic” in our nation because the opposite is true from the very founding of our republic. The systemic nature of our society is freedom founded in inherent inalienable rights and further acknowledging the imperfection of man by addressing injustice through mechanisms to change our laws and elected leaders.
I am the son and husband of non-white immigrants who came to America precisely because of its unique promise of opportunity. I have been blessed to live for almost 76 years on this earth and I can attest not only to the basic efficacy of that opportunity but the improvements in our society especially regarding race during my lifetime.
Are we a perfect society? Of course not. But permit me to offer a personal perspective. I grew up in the inner city of Chicago in the Logan Square neighborhood. Neither of my parents had a college education and we had a small family retail store business that provided just enough income to provide food and clothing. We always lived in an apartment building and could not afford a home. But I never felt poor because of my faith and family.
We lived only three blocks from our Methodist church and every Sunday we would put on our Sunday best clothes and walk as a family to our church. My Father emphasized my responsibility of being a grateful, loyal American citizen because of the privileges we enjoyed of freedom, education, and opportunity. He also emphasized to be proud of our ethnic heritage and never shame the family, but to be prouder of being a citizen of this country.
As a result of that moral foundation, I have been blessed to attain a modest degree of success in life. I was the first in my family to obtain a college education and had rewarding careers in military, civilian, and serving endeavors.
Reflecting on race relations in our country during my lifetime, when I was a kid, the odds of me becoming a two-star general in the United States Army were slim and next to none. I have seen an African-American elected President of the United States and then re-elected. Interracial marriages today are commonplace and are accepted societal norms. My thirty-two-year career as an Army officer demonstrated how society functions with equal opportunity.
Our military was the first major component of American society that was integrated in 1948 by President Truman. The color of your skin (and gender, I might add) was irrelevant, we were all Army green. Promotion was based on your ability, work ethic, and results. We received equal pay for equal work. I have seen an Asian-American appointed as the Army Chief of Staff and an African-American appointed as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And our society has not had a blind eye to our past and has taken many actions to improve opportunities for deprived communities through numerous government and charitable organization programs. These have included early childhood education, school nutritional programs, scholarships, and passing legislation, such as addressing real estate red-lining and job-hiring discrimination. And, although not in my lifetime, the United States of America is the only nation in the world that has had a civil war, which cost over one-half million military casualties, to abolish slavery.
And the church has not stood silent. The abolitionist movement was led by people of faith. The civil rights movement of the 60s was supported by clergy throughout. The last time I looked, Martin Luther King was a Pastor. Could it have done more? Yes, but without the church, these movements would not have occurred. However, I am a realist and acknowledge that it can always do more.
Have I experienced prejudice in my life? Naturally, but I always considered the source, dismissed it, and was incentivized to prove them wrong. Many of the experiences were very serious, some life-changing, but throughout I received strength from my trust in our God. I have also experienced people in my life who provided help, hope, and encouragement in tough circumstances and the vast majority were not people of color, but white. These life experiences are, in fact, the systemic nature of our American society.
In conclusion, I would ask all citizens to reconsider what I perceive to be a misplaced emphasis on systemic racism as the core nature of our nation. If one is a racial minority and is constantly told the odds are stacked up against you, you naturally feel a sense of anger, hopelessness, and resentment. On the other hand, if you understand that America offers a true opportunity for you to grasp, you will be grateful and hopeful.
James H. Mukoyama, Jr.
Major General, U.S. Army — Retired
Full Bio from MG James H. “Mook” Mukoyama, Jr.
Major General James H. Mukoyama, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 3, 1944. He retired from the Army in May 1995, after over thirty years of total active and reserve component service, and two combat tours.
He was commissioned as a Regular Army Infantry Second Lieutenant in 1965 upon graduation from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature. He received his Master’s degree in the Teaching of Social Studies also from the University of Illinois in 1966.
During his five years on active duty, General Mukoyama served as a platoon leader in the demilitarized zone in the Republic of Korea and as an infantry company commander in the 9th Division in Vietnam. He was the youngest General Officer in the entire United States Army in 1987 and subsequently the youngest Major General three years later.
In 1989, he became the first Asian-American in the history of the United States to command an Army division. Among General Mukoyama’s decorations and badges are the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Parachutist Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
Since his retirement from active federal service in 1995, General Mukoyama has volunteered and participated in numerous organizations, both governmental and non-profit charitable, benefitting our military, veterans, and the community. He is a life member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Order of the Purple Heart, and Disabled Veterans of America.
Mukoyama served for five years, the last two as Chairman, on the Advisory Committee for Minority Veterans for the Department of Veterans Affairs traveling throughout the nation on behalf of minority veterans to improve services and information to the field.
In January 2013, General Mukoyama answered a calling to devote his life to the ministry of Military Outreach USA, a faith-based 501(c)(3) organization serving our military — Active, Guard, Reserve, Veterans — and their families, to cope with the visible and invisible wounds associated with military service to our great nation. In order to serve as the first President and Executive Director, Mukoyama’s 38-year career in the financial services industry, where he had been a member of the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange, ended.