The U.S. Army is looking into allegations that soldiers in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, are allowed to use racial slurs against each other during "Racial Thursdays."
The soldiers belong to the 2nd Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, a member of the unit told the Army Times. The soldier, a black staff sergeant who asked for anonymity, told the Times that "Racial Thursdays" is "something they made up where you can say any racist remark you want without any consequences. The platoon sergeant said no, but the s—t is still going on." The staff sergeant said that he'd never had any slurs directed his way, as he made it clear he would not participate or tolerate it. Still, "it's degrading to the soldiers," he said. "We've had soldiers almost fight over the crap that's going on here."
Another soldier corroborated his story, telling the Times: "We're all young guys and we all joke and play around, but I wouldn't expect those kinds of jokes. It was wrong." Last week, U.S. Army Alaska initiated a commander's inquiry into the allegations, according to Lt. Col. Alan Brown, spokesman for the command. Brown added that this investigation has nothing to do with the case of Pvt. Danny Chen, a member of the unit who committed suicide in 2011 while deployed in Afghanistan. Authorities say Chen was hazed because of his Chinese heritage, and at least eight soldiers were court-martialed or administratively punished in the case.