They Fought For Their Country But Did Their Country Fight For Them?

Black Vietnam War Veteran
Ade Hennis
September 27, 2023

Being a military veteran is supposed to have its perks – discounted tuition, job application priority, and even specialized home loans. But for many Vietnam War veterans, the promise of a better life was one big lie.

Imagine being put on battlegrounds not knowing what to do or what you’re fighting for. And after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, fights between Black and white soldiers spread across Vietnam. This was not the war that our people were expecting to fight.

Upon returning home, Black veterans were denied basic benefits. “Whatever I’m suffering with, I’m going to continue to do that, instead of going to an institution that’s supposed to be servicing me but instead disrespects me.” Our people have always depended on self, but during war their white counterparts abused them, with devastating consequences.

Black Vietnam soldiers were twice as likely as white soldiers to suffer from PTSD after the war. And today, Black veterans have reported greater PTSD than white veterans.

These vets remind us that the military is just one example of how a system that claims to benefit us often fails us. How would you reimagine what Black liberation can look like without relying upon traditional American systems?

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