A new recruitment ad by the U.S. Army has far-right posters on X mockingly questioning why it only features white men, with some claiming it means war is coming.
“White dudes back in the ads. Things are getting serious,” posted one on X.
A tweet featuring the thirty-second spot, which shows a small platoon of paratroopers making a training jump from a plane, was panned on Monday by far-right posters. Though many claimed it only showed white men, there is at least one Black woman shown in the platoon.
“Can’t hit those recruitment goals so you’re trying to reach out to Midwestern and southern white guys again, huh?” asked another.
The Army has failed for years to reach recruiting targets, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report in October from Military.com.
“The job market has changed significantly over the past 20 years, but we as the Army haven’t changed very much,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said at a press briefing in the beginning of October. It fell short by 10,000 recruits in the last fiscal year, and 15,000 recruits the year before.
Online, racist posters credited a pro-diversity push in military recruiting, promotions, and advertising as the reason behind the shortfall.
“Y’all really think you could treat us (White men) like garbage, enforce diversity quotas, put black women in positions of authority because they’re black women and expect us to look kindly upon you?” asked @BIPOCracism.
In 2021, the Army commissioned two times as many women in combat career fields, according to an Army press release. The push accounted for 25% of all new commissioned officers.
A July 2020 memorandum by then Secretary of Defense Mark Esper called for a series of steps within the department to promote diversity and inclusion, including removing photographs and references to race, ethnicity, and gender from personnel files during the promotion and selection process, training commanders to discuss discrimination, prejudice, and bias, reviewing hairstyle and grooming policies, and “updating recruiting content annually to reflect the nation’s racial and ethnic makeup.”
That diversity push provoked a backlash among Republican senators over the new policies.
“We’re hearing reports of plummeting morale, growing mistrust between the races and sexes where none existed just six months ago, and unexpected retirements and separations, based on these trainings alone,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in 2021, according to a report from the New York Times.
Online, the far-right posters mocked the new ad as the sign of a failure of that policy.
“Where is the usual diversity?!?! All I see are White men?!?!?!” asked one.
“No time for diversity now that it’s wartime,” wrote another.
“When things get serious, the Army knows who fights America’s wars,” replied another.
According to a 2022 US military report 68.8% of active-duty members of the military self-reported as white.