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Picture of JULIETTE LOW FLEURY
GI Bill Secondary Sources
by JULIETTE LOW FLEURY - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 09:34 PM
 

In Never a Level Playing Field by Hilary Herbold and Building a Staight State by Margot Canaday showcase the descrimination faced by certain minorities in the United States armed forces. African Americans, women, and homosexuals were mostly excluded from what is considered to be one of the most revolutionary pieces of legistation of the 20th century: The GI Bill. The GI Bill gave former soldiers who had received an non disonorable discharge with compensation, free education, job oppertunites, housing prospects, and craft training.

       The GI Bill caused a shift in the education rate of the population and boosted the white middle class. 7.8 million people were educated undere the GI Bill (Herbold 104). This was overseen by the US department of Veterans Affairs the (VA), who were very discriminatory. It astounded me to read that even after full terms of service and honorable discharges, many African Americans were unable to cash in on their GI Bill benefits. 95% of black servicemen who attended college attended in the South, many at hisorically black universities. Unfortunately, the discrimination still ran rampant against those who had risked their lives in battle. 

      Homosexuals who were caught performing "homosexual activities" or had "homosexual tendencies" were dismissed from the army with a discharge form known as the blue paper.  The blue paper stood in the way of homosexuals trying to access benefits after the war due to the inherent homophobia of the members of the VA and perspective eomployers. Although the blue papers were not technically a dishonorable discharge, it was up to the VA officials to decide whether or not a certain person was to be given benefits despite their sexuality. There were approximately 5000 unfavorable discharges from the army and 4000 from the navy for homosexuality during WW2 (Canaday 942) and many of these people had to live with the stigma surrounding homosexuality. The American Civil Liberties Union tried to combat this by saying that everyone without a dishonorable discharge deserved compensation, but they were ignored.Women who had been part of the army received less benefits than their male counterparts for serving in the war, and upon returning were not given the same opportunites for employment and education.

       The GI Bill was not beneficial for the working women who stayed home either, due to the many people left out, and those who were trained, many women found themselves being fired from positions their held during the war. The creation of the Fair Employment Practices Commision in 1941 is in many ways a testament to the unfair discrimination against groups that were not white males. This was created to deter discrimination, and as we can see from the GI Bill and other events during that time period, there was quite a bit of that. In short, the GI-Bill mostly served the class that created it, heterosexual middle and upper class white men. 


Picture of MINGJIE LIAN
Re: GI Bill Secondary Sources
by MINGJIE LIAN - Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 09:44 PM
 

I agree with you when you say that it discriminate the women, homosexuals, and blacks. I find it unfair how the VA is treating blacks. The VA thinks that they shouldn't get an education (and if they wanted education the VA would've suggested majors that would will pay less). I also find it unfair how the military will give you a blue discharge for one mistake that you committed. The purpose of the blue discharge was to have heterosexual men. They believe that being heterosexual is more "noble" than being homosexual.