The Army's top enlisted service member opens up about race
Sergeant Major Michael Grinstein is the highest ranking enlisted member of the US army and he took to twitter to share a very personal video message about race. And our army, we have to trust and understand one another. We have to be willing to tell our stories. Here's part of my story. I was born in nineteen sixty eight. Father was black. My mother was flying. When I was three, they divorced and I moved Alabama. Racial identity is something that I struggle with my entire life. Coming to grips with both sides, my Daddy! At one point I decided I would put. Black on the form. And at that time only had two choices. So ended the form that I was given to the lady, and she says that's not funny. What are you talking about? Said you should mark that. I said well. I explained are black and white. have too many choices or anything else on that. Sometimes by life on felt like. It's in the movie the Greenberg where. The actor gets out of the car and he says I'm not black enough for the black people not wide enough for the white, people. That's my story. Here more of his story right now. Sergeant Major Michael Grinstein. Thank you very much for being on the PODCAST. Sure for hosting and I look forward to discussing so you told CBS Sunday morning that your driver's license listed. You cough occasion. When when you enlisted in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, seven, as a result of that. You checked Caucasian, but then you had. An opportunity to check that box again and that's when you checked. Black in the lady said that's not funny. What changed in you in your life? For you to make that change? This was one of those things that. You know I struggle with You know my whole life I mean. You know because people would always ask and even in that same interview, people would say well. You know my you know as I travel around I got older people. Just you know. Walk up and say what are you? which is I, said in the interview was probably the worst thing you could say to anybody and almost brought. You would get was human, and then I'd probably say what are you? But I think for me. It was coming to grips with both sides of me and who I was as a person you know I was I was really proud that i. feel you know a proud of both sides of me? and I struggled with that my whole life. Because there was everybody wanted to put me. in the box box that was And in in my, In my twitter video I said was When I watched the movie Greenberg. I really identified with that character in there when he said you know I'm not. I'm not enough for the bike, people and not wide enough for the white people. So when I when I checked that block it was Kinda myself actualization that there are two scientific. And I and I can be proud of both sides of me. Sergeant major can I get you because that was the line. And he came at the very end of your of your twitter video which I found very moving, and I would love for you to just to flesh out that line I'm not black enough for black people. How were you not black enough? Give you another story then, and this is actually recently. So I was I I'm trying not to. You. Know I really don't want to say exactly where it was I. don't want make any body upset. But I was I'll say a year ago. I was leaving installation. And you know there's there's both I you know. Sometimes I don't even know why we have all these racial blocks on the fort. Does it really matter? But there was a and I said look. You Know Comfortable Ama-. AD, Tech Black! And In I was going in the hospital for surgery and It was an African American female and she looks at me. and. I mean like. Really and And I well. My father's I just like this. My father is black. My mom is white. What would you like me to? And this is her words. We'll put other. so that's what I mean You know I that's I I can't say it. Any other way is when you get those looks from everybody You know that's that's that's the only way I can explain to. You. what it feels like when you know, you're not black there.