MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Imagine someone is stranded on a life raft with 13 other individuals and it only has room for nine. This person doesn’t know everything there is to know about everyone he is sharing a raft with, but knows that the person across from him is a white supremacist while another is on welfare.
The majority of occupants vote these two individuals off the raft, as well as three others, and his vote was the one that made the difference. Sometime after rescuers find his group, he learns more about the people he helped vote off. The white supremacist left his hate group 30 years prior and had turned his life around, while the woman on welfare lost her job standing up for something she believed in.
Equal Opportunity Instructors from Jacksonville, N.C., and Beaufort, S.C., guided over 30 senior leaders from installations in Georgia and Florida through this exercise, and others like it, during a Senior Leaders Workshop at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Sept. 25-26.
Staff Sgt. Juana L. DeLosSantos, Equal Opportunity Advisor, Marine Corps Logistics Command, hosted the annual training session, which is highly encouraged by the Marine Corps Equal Opportunity Manual: Marine Corps Order P5354.1D W/ CH1.
“Participants had to choose who stayed and who left (the raft) based on the information they received,” DeLosSantos said. “However, the information also contained other details regarding everyone on the raft; details that were omitted to see how their personal biases, values, and beliefs affected their judgment. We wanted to challenge stereotypical notions about each person.”
This exercise touched on a specific aspect of what experts refer to as Socialization. Most people develop preconceived notions - more specifically notions of racial stereotypes and gender roles, according to DeLosSantos.
These notions don’t go away on their own and may follow an individual on his or her rise through the ranks, placing an integral part in who the person promotes, who he or she punishes and how the individual accomplishes the mission, according to EO experts.
The instructors also covered the concept of extremism, more specifically extremism in the form of hate groups and gangs. Citing personal testimony, FBI investigation results and other findings, instructors called attention to how gang members within the armed forces influenced the spread of American gangs throughout the globe. They also placed emphasis on how this creates a new threat to national security.
Thirty-seven EO advisors currently serve in the Marine Corps. According to Marine Corps Order 5354.3B, not only are these advisors responsible for hosting events such as this one, they’re also responsible for educating the force-at-large to include the most junior of Marines. Workshops and other training sessions are aimed at challenging leaders to make changes in the workplace that have a positive effect on all uniformed members, regardless of religious or ethnic backgrounds.
Participants not only represented MCLC or MCLB Albany, but they also represented Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., and Recruit Station Jacksonville, Fla.
“We’re here to facilitate guided discussions among our senior leaders,” Master Sgt. Reginald Mack, EO Advisor, II Marine Expeditionary Force, said. “We wanted to create an environment in which everyone could speak their minds and not be judged. So far, we’ve been very successful.”