The Poverty Draft? Exploring the Role of Socioeconomic Status in U.S. Military Recruitment of Hispanic Students
14 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 17 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2010
The end of the U.S. military draft in 1973 re-established the all-volunteer Armed Forces. Some have argued that this change caused a shift in the racial/ethnic and economic composition of the USAF. Much of this work has focused on the motivation of an all-volunteer force and whether military service is viewed more as a job or one’s patriotic duty (Moskos 1977). Scholars have paid little attention to the methods by which the military targets and recruits potential enlistees. The conventional wisdom is that the military has created a “poverty draft” (Mariscal 2007) by targeting low-income African-Americans and Latinos/as. While a great deal of anecdotal evidence exists documenting this phenomena, little empirical analysis has been undertaken to address the reality of the “poverty draft.” We attempt to identify military recruitment strategies in the Rio Grande Valley in Deep South Texas by questioning current high school juniors and seniors regarding their experiences with military recruiters. We intend to assess whether military recruiters are more active in recruiting students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
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