Proving Patriotism: Latino Views on Military Recruitment and Service

Dr. McGlynn presents his latest research. Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki
Dr. McGlynn presents his latest research. Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki

By Nia Scott
Staff Writer

On Wednesday, March 29th, as part of the Provost Speaking Series, Dr. Adam McGlynn gave a presentation entitled, “Proving Patriotism, Latino Views on Military Recruitment and Service.”

The talk discussed Dr. McGlynn and Dr. Jessica Lavariega Monforti’s experiment and findings regarding how Latinos feel about patriotism and their views on the military. Dr. Adam McGlynn is a professor of Political Science at East Stroudsburg University and Dr. Jessica Lavariega Monforti is a professor and chair department of Political Science.

To begin the presentation, ESU provost, Dr. Joanne Bruno, spoke of the importance of the Provost Speaking Series as a way for students to expand their learning from outside of the classroom.

When speaking about the series, Dr. Bruno said, “What’s really exciting about a colloquium series it really features the best of our faculty expertise and it really goes to what an academic community is about.”

Dr. McGlynn started off by stating that he, like Dr. Bruno worked at an HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) in Texas. He explained his interest in this topic by first talking about how Hispanics are becoming more analyzed by politicians and that they are a sizeable community when it comes to elections.

Dr. McGlynn then discussed the beginnings of his interest in the Hispanics in the military, by talking about his time in South Texas. “When I was in South Texas, one of the things I noticed was pretty much every single high school had a JROTC program.

We saw that there were numerous veterans of the United States Military living there.” He decided he wanted to see if Latinos that enter the military feel more or less patriotic after their service and if they feel that their status in the community is affected by their time in the military.

Before his current research topic, Dr. McGlynn was looking into whether or the military was targeting students from low-income backgrounds. “I was looking at a concept called the Poverty Draft.

This idea of whether or not the military is targeting low-income students of color, specifically Latinos in South Texas.” Thankfully his findings were inconclusive and helped him realize something new that took him to his topic of today.

“The evidence that we found was somewhat mixed, but, nonetheless what we did find they were going after students that were highly capable.”

The U.S. military did not want just anyone, they wanted students that were capable and ready to be trained. Culturally, as Dr. McGlynn pointed out, Latino’s are known for being patriotic and loyal.

What finally pushed Dr. McGlynn to look at how Latinos feel after coming out the service was the reaction to Mark Anthony singing “National Anthem” at the 2013 Allstar Game hosted by the New York Mets.

“You would think it made sense; New York City boy, so you bring him out to the All-Star Game in New York City to sing the National Anthem, however, not everyone was thrilled.”

He then proceeded to present tweets from different people on the internet, who were outraged with Mark Anthony singing the National Anthem due to his Puerto Rican background, even though he was born in New York.

Many questioned if he was born in America and accused him of being Mexican. This made Dr. McGlynn wonder if Hispanics feel as though they are more or accepted by Americans after their service in the military.

For his study, Dr. McGlynn used a small sample size of people from South Texas that had served in the military. Many times during the presentation Dr. McGlynn expressed that he wished the sample size were bigger so the data would be more accurate, and hoped to one day do a larger study.

Dr. McGlynn and Dr. Monforti asked the people of their study a series of questions pertaining to their time in the military and after, including but not limited to, if they feel their status in the community outside of family and friends has changed due to their time in the military and whether their time in the military increases their desire to be involved in politics.

What they found was that most of the veterans were proud of their service in the military, with the survey showing almost 95% were proud. This shows that Latinos are patriots and are loyal to their country.

When asked whether or not they were more accepted by their community, the average answer was neither showing that most didn’t agree or disagree with the statement, but a slight majority agree that they did feel more accepted, but as Dr. McGlynn put it, “These numbers are not overwhelming.”

There was no definitive conclusion drawn from the survey because the survey pool was a little more than 100 and not enough to know for sure whether Latinos feel more accepted after serving in the military.

Dr. McGlynn also presented that his findings in regards to trusting politicians and found most do not trust their politicians.

Although their work was lacking a sizeable number of participants and no definitive conclusions could be drawn, it was eye-opening and is something that should be studied further.

In my opinion a veteran should be respected by their community, no matter their background.

Email Nia at:
nscott5@live.esu.edu

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