Arts & Entertainment
Creep of the Week: Sgt. Marcia Ramode
By D'Anne Witkowski
Originally printed 04/12/2007 (Issue 1514 - Between The Lines News)
The United States Military wants YOU.
Unless you're black and gay. Then you can "go back to Africa and do your gay voodoo limbo tango and wango dance."
Of course, a military recruiter would never write such a thing to a person they've tried to recruit, right?
As it turns out, they would. More specifically, Sgt. Marcia Ramode would and did in an e-mail to Corey Andrew, a black gay man from Jersey City she found via CareerBuilder.com, where he'd posted his resume.
A heated e-mail exchange followed. Andrew wasn't exactly an angel. He even made a crack about a "rain dance" to Ramode who is Native American. But Andrew isn't representing, oh, the United States Military. Ramode should have hit "delete" and written Andrew off as a jerk.
Instead on March 2, she told Andrew, "GO BACK TO AFRICA AND DO YOUR GAY VOODOO LIMBO TANGO AND WANGO DANCE AND JUMP AROUND AND PRANCE AND RUN ALL OVER THE PLACE HALF NAKED THERE AND PRACTICE YOUR GAY MORALS OVER THERE THAT'S WHERE YOU BELONG."
She then wrote, OBVIOUSLY YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND IF YOU ARE GAY YOU ARE OUT OF THE MILITARY YOU ARE DISQUALIFIED. SO WHATS THE BIG ISSUE HERE. YOU ARE UPSET YOU DO NOT QUALIFY."
Reading the e-mail exchange, however, it's clear that Andrew is not hot to join the military, though he does disagree with the anti-gay policy. Regardless, the e-mail exchange never would have happened if Ramode had been doing her job. After all, she's a military recruiter. She's supposed to get people to join, which isn't an easy thing to do right now. So using her time to harass a black gay man sounds like dereliction of duty to me.
The military, however, seems to have less of a problem with Ramode's actions as she still has a job.
"In any other corporate structure in America, an e-mail like this going around in an office building would result in termination immediately," Andrew said.
According to Douglas Smith, a public affairs officer for the Recruiting Command, "The matter has been referred through the U.S. Army Recruiting Command's Staff Judge Advocate to the appropriate commander for review, investigation and appropriate action. The Command expects its Recruiters to conduct themselves in a professional manner in all dealings with potential applicants and members of the public. We are ambassadors for America's Army."
"Sergeant Ramode's comments were insulting and inflammatory to all troops now serving in our armed forces," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "Individuals from all racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as those who are lesbian, gay and bisexual, serve in our armed forces. This diversity not only reflects the diversity of our nation, but it also strengthens the military might of our armed forces. There is absolutely no place in our military for intolerance and bigotry."
Um, actually there are plenty of places in our military for intolerance and bigotry. Ramode's e-mails are but a small reminder of far more systemic problems.