SMA Grinston wants to retire Army’s term, “I only see Green”

The Army’s top personnel leaders participated in part 5 of a series discussion on racial issues and diversity in the force on Sept. 16. The conversation is part of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA)’s virtual Noon Report and is part of a commitment the Army has made to address race and equality.

Anyone who says their unit doesn’t have racial issues may not be listening, Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Michael Grinston, said during one AUSA Noon Report webinar.

“It is okay that you don’t have an issue, but your soldiers may have issues,” Grinston said, who encourages squad-level discussions about cultural diversity.

The Army has long had a stance to look at people as soldiers only, with soldiers and leaders saying they only “see green” when it comes to race.

Disproportionate police brutality toward minorities and protests about systemic racism are making the Army rethink how being green ignores the experiences of some soldiers.

Grinston also said he’s no fan of soldiers using the phrase, “I only see green,” when talking about diversity and race, because not seeing soldiers as individuals can leave them hurt, unappreciated and discriminated against.

He explained his recent realization after speaking with a fellow soldier.

“‘When you say, ‘all I see is green, you don’t see all of me,’” Grinston said one soldier told him. “‘You don’t see when I take off my uniform and I go out that gate, that people will treat me differently because of the color of my skin. You can’t see that when I go home to New York City that I have had a gun to my head 13 times since I’ve been in the Army.’”

Grinston said he doesn’t use the term anymore and would like to see the phrase retired.

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