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the GI Bill
by Kiva McElhiney - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 09:12 PM

In the two articles read, they both discussed the inequalities of the GI Bill. The two authors specifically discussed the major discrimination that occurred amongst people of color and homosexuals. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, or more commonly known as the GI Bill, at first seemed like a major positive step in government. It provided a range of benefits to World War II Veterans, giving them education, access to jobs, and much more. This law, unlike many other government works, actually helped these men and made a change. After reading the two articles, I was incredibly disheartened because I always knew the GI Bill as the great political advancement, but in actuality had many flaws and contained large amounts of injustice.

The first article spoke about the issues of race in the GI Bill. It can be argued that the laws of the GI Bill were a lot like that of Jim Crow. The laws did not explicitly state that they would discriminate against African Americans, but what ended up happening was when these veterans would return and try to utilize the GI Bill, it was virtually impossible to find a place to work, or a college to go to because of the strong ideas of racism that were still present. The programs were mainly directed at whites, and it was very difficult for people of color to find a job that would accept/take them in the industry. Something that is greatly corrupt is the banks and mortgage agencies would refuse loans to African Americans, making the GI Bill practically ineffective to those of color. Another difficult challenge was dealing with segregation. This was still very prominent in the Southern communities in particular. If an African American were to utilize the GI Bill, and apply to college, they would hopefully get in, but due to segregation, would face major setbacks and unfair inequalities. The universities would receive less funding, the teachers would not be as strong, ultimately, just not a substantial education.

The GI Bill did not only discriminate against African Americans, but also of those that were homosexual. The law would purposely discharge gay men and created laws that would make them unable to use and exercise the powers of the GI Bill. Many people are also less aware of what a great issue this was during the time period. Something I noticed and find quite interesting is that in the reading the author spoke about how this policy really “institutionalized” heterosexuality, and put a strong stigma toward homosexuality. (Canady 957). This then leads to major issues because men are afraid to share with others their true, and very real personal feelings. It puts men “back in the closet” and does not give them equal access to opportunities just for liking the same sex, something I find to be quite heartbreaking. This in a way, relates to the ideals of communism in the United States. America had a great fear over communism when it was not harmful to them in any way. It was very similar to how they treated homosexuals, they had a large fear, and strong hate towards that particular group, but there never should have been, because there is no difference between a homosexual man or a heterosexual man. Again, it is another example of the American people stigmatizing those that are not “normal”.

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Re: the GI Bill
by LAURA GILL - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 09:38 PM

I agree that the exclusion of men discharged with blue papers from the GI Bill's extensive benefits is an example of the stigmatization of traits viewed as outside of normal for the majority of history. This discrimination was similar and yet different to the limited benefits granted to black veterans because this was the first time in American history that gay men were labelled as such across a large population, making it more difficult for gay men to hide from persecution.