A group of African-American female cadets at West Point are now being investigated after a picture of them holding up their fists in a pre-graduation photo goes viral. More inside….
THEY don’t want to see us succeed. By any means necessary.
16 African-American female cadets at the United Sates Military Academy of West Point are being investigated after their pre-graduation photo (taken last month) went viral. Folks are up in arms that the black cadets held up their fists in what appears to be the Black Power salute.
It’s a long tradition at the school that groups from graduating class snap a "Old Corps” photo in their historical-style uniforms in front of Nininger Hall. The poses are typically poker-faced and stern, but not this year. These ladies decided to pay homage to their culture with the raising of their fists.
Now, the young cadets, who are set to graduate later this month, are being investigated to see if they violated the school’s honor code or a Department of Defense rule about political activities while in the Armed Forces. As written in the Army Command policy, soldiers (including cadets) may "register, vote, and express their personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Army." They are not allowed to show any political statements while in the military.
According to CNN:
The photo gained national attention last week when a blogger popular among some in the military wrote about it after multiple cadets sent in the photo, according to the blog's author. In posts on his blog and on his Facebook account, John Burk called the image a "completely unprofessional" reference to the Black Lives Matter movement. The Facebook post drew hundreds of comments and was shared more than 1,400 times.
In days since, scores of alumni have lined up in support of the young women, who have not spoken publicly about the photo or been identified by West Point. Meanwhile, the school said it is investigating whether the photo violates the military's restrictions on political expression.
Lt. Colonel Christopher Kasker, spokesman for the school, did not specify whether the inquiry could result in disciplinary action for the cadets, who were described by Fulton and others who knew them as athletes and campus leaders. One black female graduate of the academy is speaking out to show her support. Mary Tobin is a mentor to some of the women in the photo and she said their picture has nothing to do with politics.
Mary Tobin, a black female graduate of the academy, said she is a mentor to some of the women in the photo and has spoken to them since the investigation was launched. She said the pose had nothing to do with politics and that they "weren't doing it to be aligned with any particular movement or any particular party."
In a Facebook post titled “This Is Not About A Fist,” Mary defends the young cadets for their clenched fist photo. In part, she said she would have not advised them to throw up their fists in the picture due to this racist world we live in, but she fully supports them.
"I refuse to allow my young West Point sisters to be railroaded, ostracized, demonized, degraded, and humiliated without speaking up on their behalf. They are proud. Point blank. And while I would not have advised them to display 'the fist' while taking this traditional picture, my advice would've been solely rooted in the fact that we exist in a very racially and politically charged environment and not everyone will understand what you meant." None of the young ladies have publicly addressed the picture."
THEY will always have an “issue” when someone unapologetically celebrates their blackness. Thoughts?
Photo: AP's Twitter