Belgian Defense and Ethnic Diversity: Integration or Inclusion?

sociology diversity

03 October 2023 13h15-14h15

by Prof Delphine Resteigne & Wendy Gomes (Chair of Sociology)

Having been considered as “uniformed” organizations for a long time, military organizations are increasingly focusing on the integration and inclusion of minority groups. They do this in order to attract and retain more employees, but also because they realize that diversity brings significant benefits to the organization. However, as within broader society, the military members with a migration background still experience discrimination within the organization. This can range from minor comments and seemingly harmless jokes to very extreme forms of racism. This article presents the results of a recent qualitative research study, that focused on the experiences of military personnel from ethnically diverse backgrounds within the Belgian Defence. We conducted semi-structured interviews with cadets at the Belgian Royal Military Academy as well as with Belgian military personnel from ethnically diverse backgrounds. We observed that military personnel with a migration background develop different ways to integrate within Defence: some do integrate, some assimilate, some separate, others experience marginalization. In fact they display different attitudes towards dealing with discrimination: either by ignoring the discrimination, by working harder, by confronting the person who is discriminating or by quitting the military.

Previous Post Next Post