The US Armed Forces have decided to accept applicants with colorblindness for the first time in over 25 years. This seemingly small decision by the US armed forces has been met with a lot of criticism, both from inside and outside of the military.
A large part of this dissent has been to do with concerns that colorblind soldiers are less safe on the battlefield than those with normal vision. There are also questions as to whether or not there is actually any advantage for military Colorblindness policies.
Military colorblindness policies
In August 2009, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a directive that prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin. The DoD has also taken steps to ensure that all service members are treated equally regardless of their race or ethnicity.
The following information is provided to help you understand the DoD’s policy for equal opportunity and affirmative action.
The Equal Opportunity Policy Statement
The Department of Defense’s Equal Opportunity Policy Statement states that discrimination based on race, color or national origin is contrary to good order and discipline, undermines morale, and degrades mission accomplishment. The EO Policy Statement further states that every member of the military services shall have equal opportunity for development and advancement.
Discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color or national origin is inconsistent with good order and discipline because it encourages divisiveness among members of our armed forces and weakens their combat readiness by undermining trust between them. It is not permissible under this policy for any military commander or other supervisor to use his or her authority to discriminate against any member of the armed forces because he or she has spoken out in opposition to racism or racial stereotyping which is offensive to others.
Implemented and restrictions
The United States military has a long history of discrimination and segregation. In fact, at the beginning of the 20th century, the U.S. Army was segregated by color. African-American soldiers were forced to serve in separate units and were not allowed to rise above the rank of sergeant.
The U.S. military has since adopted policies that prohibit discrimination based on race, gender or sexual orientation. The Department of Defense (DoD) also has a policy against discrimination based on color blindness. The basic idea behind this policy is that if a person cannot distinguish between colors, he can still perform his duties as a soldier effectively enough to meet the standards set by the Army and DoD.
The DoD’s policy against colorblindness is not new; it has been in place for almost 50 years now and works very well for those who have some form of color vision deficiency (CVD). It does not however address all forms of CVD and there are some who believe that this policy needs to be changed so that it takes into account all types of CVD and provides equal opportunities for all people regardless of their ability to see colors correctly.
Challenges Faced by Colorblind Soldiers
Colorblind soldiers face challenges when it comes to their career in the military. There are some policies that prohibit them from serving as pilots or snipers because they have trouble seeing red and green. This is due to the fact that colorblindness is a vision impairment.
Serving as a pilot or sniper requires great vision and being colorblind will definitely pose challenges. However, there are other ways to serve in the Armed Forces that do not involve these positions.
Colorblind people may be drafted into the Army, but they cannot serve as pilots or snipers because they struggle with distinguishing between red and green colors. There are several ways a soldier can be classified as colorblind including:
Affect career progression and job satisfaction
A colorblind soldier can be severely affected by the policies and procedures of their employers. They may not be able to perform certain tasks that require a high degree of color perception. In addition, the policies that are in place may also affect their career progression and satisfaction at work.
If you are a colorblind soldier, you should know about the following challenges:
Challenge 1: Colorblind soldiers may not be able to perform tasks that require a high degree of color perception
In some cases, soldiers are required to perform tasks that require a high degree of color perception. These include tasks such as repairing vehicles, reading maps and piloting planes during combat conditions. If you are colorblind, you might not be able to perform these types of tasks successfully because you do not have good enough color vision to see objects accurately or quickly enough. You might also require assistance from others in order to perform these tasks effectively. This could lead to delays in completing your task or even failure if another person is unavailable at the time.
Challenge 2: Colorblind soldiers could suffer from lowered job satisfaction if they cannot complete their assigned duties successfully
It is important for every soldier to feel satisfied with their job as it can affect how well they perform on the battlefield or during peacetime missions. If a colorblind soldier cannot do their job effectively, then they may feel disappointed with their performance and this could lower their morale. This can be especially dangerous if the soldier is serving in a combat zone; if they become depressed or despondent, it may affect their performance and put themselves or others at risk.
Strategies for Overcoming The Challenges
Colorblind hiring policies are based on the assumption that differences in race and ethnicity do not affect job performance. But these assumptions ignore the fact that racial and ethnic minorities often encounter discrimination in the workplace.
The good news is that colorblind hiring policies can be modified to level the playing field for minorities.
Here are some strategies for overcoming the challenges:
Understand your own biases. Research shows that even people who believe they are not prejudiced may harbor unconscious biases against people of different races or ethnicities. These biases can be triggered by things as simple as a name or photo, which could impact hiring decisions even if you don’t realize it.
Learn about unconscious bias training and take steps to reduce its effects. You can start by reading about the types of biases we all have and how they can affect our decision-making processes, such as with the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT). Then, you can learn more about how to reduce these effects with techniques like mindfulness meditation and critical thinking exercises.
Get training on how to interview effectively so you don’t inadvertently reveal your biases during interviews or other workplace interactions with diverse candidates. This will help ensure that candidates aren’t being screened out because of their race or ethnicity — and that you don’t reject qualified applicants due to unconscious biases.
Training programs, tools, and technologies
Training programs, tools, and technologies are available to help colorblind soldiers overcome their limitations. These include:
Color vision tests. Color vision tests are a standard screening tool used by the military to determine whether or not a soldier has a color vision deficiency. These tests can be administered in person or online, and they are available in many languages. If you need to take this test, ask your recruiter for information on where to go and what you’ll need (i.e., ID card or birth certificate).
Color perception training software. This software helps people with normal color vision learn how to interpret colors as they would appear to someone with a color deficiency (for example, someone who is red/green colorblind). The software uses graphics and visualizations that allow users to see how different colors look when viewed through different lenses of color blindness.
Color-blind contact lenses (aka colorkinds red-green colorblind contacts). These contacts use special filters that help people with red/green deficiencies distinguish between these colors by amplifying them for improved identification and recognition. The contacts can be purchased online or at some optometrists’ offices; however, they are not intended for driving purposes and should only be worn while performing non-driving tasks such as reading documents or watching movies on TV.
Military colorblindness is an important issue for many people in the armed forces. However, it is often a very difficult topic to discuss with superiors or human resource departments. The following suggestions may be helpful when approaching your superiors or HR department about colorblindness-related concerns:
Explain that you are seeking information about how to proceed with your application process and that you want to make sure you understand their policies correctly.
Let them know you are not asking for special treatment, but rather want to be treated equally.
Ask if there are any resources available to help you navigate the process. If there aren’t any, ask if they would consider creating some for future applicants like yourself.
The U.S. military has strict policies against colorblindness because soldiers need to be able to recognize different colored flags and signals. However, there are many success stories of colorblind soldiers who have served honorably in the military despite their colorblindness.
Mark Thompson was born with a rare form of colorblindness called deuteranomaly, which means that he sees reds as greens and greens as blues. He enlisted in the Army in 1998 at age 24 after completing his bachelor’s degree in history at Central Connecticut State University. He became an Army Ranger and served two tours of duty overseas before leaving the service in 2003 due to injuries sustained during his second tour in Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Gregory Felder – Felder was born with congenital color deficiency but went on to enlist in the Army as an infantryman in 2000 and was deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004 (Patterson). He served two tours in Iraq before being medically discharged due to his injuries sustained from an IED explosion (Patterson).
Bradley Wiggins is a British cyclist who won the Tour de France in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He also won gold in the men’s team pursuit at the 2008 Summer Olympics and silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In addition to his athletic achievements, he has been recognized by many publications as one of Britain’s most successful sportspeople ever.
The Road Ahead: Improving Policies
The U.S. military is one of the most diverse institutions in the world. But like many other organizations, it still struggles with discrimination and inequality. And while policies such as equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity training are designed to help promote fairness and equality, they don’t always work as well as they should. In fact, some research suggests that these policies can even backfire and lead to discriminatory outcomes against people of color — particularly black soldiers — because they overlook the structural inequalities that continue to plague our society.
In light of this reality, it’s worth considering whether there are alternative approaches we could take that would be more effective at promoting racial justice in the military.
One possible solution is “colorblindness” policies: an approach that aims to ignore race or ethnicity when making decisions about hiring, promotion or assignment opportunities. Colorblindness can take different forms depending on the context where it’s being applied: For example, it might mean avoiding explicit references to race when evaluating job candidates; or it might mean not asking about a candidate’s family background during an interview process; or it might mean using standardized tests such as the SAT instead of relying on subjective assessments (such as recommendations from supervisors)
Possible expert’s advancements in policies
The panelists agreed that carbon pricing is one of the most effective ways to reduce emissions. Carbon pricing makes emitters pay for their pollution, which encourages them to find cleaner alternatives or reduce their output. The panelists also discussed alternative policy instruments and mechanisms, such as cap-and-trade systems or other market-based approaches.
The panelists were asked what they would do if they were in charge of the federal government’s climate plan. They answered:
Mark Jaccard, professor at Simon Fraser University: “I would set a target for 2030, which would be equivalent to 80% below 2005 levels.” He added that this target should be reached with carbon pricing and “without subsidies for any particular technology.”
Tim Flannery, climate scientist: “I would insist on having a carbon price that is consistent with those targets 80% below 2005 levels by 2030.” He added that the government should have a clear plan for how it will achieve these targets over time and that it should focus on improving energy efficiency in buildings and transportation rather than investing too heavily in new technologies like nuclear power plants or biofuels.
Although the move to accept colorblind applicants in the U.S. Armed Forces is commendable, a comprehensive approach that takes into account individual biases and systemic issues must be considered if policy improvements are going to occur.
This would involve rigorous training and use of supportive technologies, coupled with robust policies that ensure fair and equal treatment of all military personnel.