I grew up in mostly white communities and joined and retired after 30 years from a U.S. Navy Officer Corps that still largely looks like me and reflects my life experience as a white male. It almost goes without saying that I have never experienced discrimination or marginalization because of who or what I am. It was easy and comfortable for me to believe as long as I was fair to all and upheld well-intentioned (and required) policies preventing racial discrimination that I was doing enough. In reality, all I did was give myself permission to succeed in an organization where I felt no pressure to be anything other than what I am while not considering any of my fellow Sailors who felt that pressure.
I’m grateful to the Black woman and fellow officer who made me aware of this “blind spot” in the months before I retired; I am correcting my vision as a chart my new course in life.