Why are US Navy SEALs overwhelmingly white?

See THIS picture. It seems that if there was discrimination going on, you’d have more racially mixed group going in, with minorities being washed out at a higher rate. What’s going on here?

No academy awards for them, then. That’s just one picture though. Marcinko says he prefers diversity in both ethnicity and language. The advantages of this would be obvious.

That is a picture of white guys in military uniforms holding logs. It looks like it’s hosted on a diet called military.com.
How do I know that that is a picture of seals as opposed to say… The Whitebread University of Connecticut summer ROTC training/kegger beach party?

Do you need a college education to go into the Seals?

Is there any actual truth to the belief that black people aren’t as strong at swimming as white people, due to a greater muscle density?

Only as an officer (the majority of SEALs are enlisted).

You need to be a high school graduate and get the minimum ASVAB scores to qualify for Naval service. Then you have to pass some extreme physical tests.

From military.com:

18-28 years old (17 with parental permission)
A U.S. citizen.
High school graduate (or meet High Performance Predictor Profile (HP3) criteria). Be proficient in reading, speaking, writing, and understanding the English language.
Have clean record - Not be under civil restraint, a substance abuser nor have a pattern of minor convictions or any non-minor, misdemeanor, or felony convictions (waivers are granted depending on number and severity). The Special Assistant for Legal Affairs must not enlist applicants with lawsuits pending against them without prior approval.
ASVAB minimum requirements: SEAL - GS+MC+EI=165 or VE+MK+MC+CS=220 Since you cannot get a waiver on the required ASVAB score it is critical that you score high on the ASVAB. Check out our ASVAB Practice tests to learn how you can Ace the ASVAB.
Eyesight Requirements: Uncorrected vision in the better eye can be no worse than 20/70, the worse eye no more than 20/100. Both eyes must be correctable to 20/20. Color deficiencies require approval.

In fact, you can state your intention of applying to the SEALs upon enlistment. The SEAL Challenge Contract guarantees you an opportunity to apply and even entitles you to certain bonuses and benefits (!!!)

Some data to start the conversation.

I know I’m going to regret even getting involved in this but after 30+ seasons of Survivor it sure seems like blacks don’t swim well if at all. But I doubt it has anything to do with muscle density and everything to do with cultural exposure. But I’m just shooting from the hip…

Not muscle density but overall bodyfat levels.

Olympic swimmers tend to higher bodyfat than runners.

What would be needed is bodyfat testing of SEALS recruits to see if there’s a connection.

I’d tend to agree. I expect a smaller percentage of black people receive swimming lessons as children than white people.

Wealth is probably the biggest determining factor in who has access to swimming lessons.

I image people who don’t know how to swim are far less likely to sign up for the navy.

Interesting quote from that article:

I can only speak of myself but as a onetime recruit decades ago I knew the main force steering ***me ***away from a specialization eating mud and bullets for breakfast was a desire to pursue one where I’d get civilian-employment-useful training (and, yes, a preference for minimizing mud-and-bullets breakfasts , duuuhh…). If some other dude of any color wanted to spend 40 hours up to his neck in the swamp without sleep, eating bugs, who was I to take his place?

Which is important, to have the minority groups even apply to begin with – high-attrition selection processes ISTM exacerbate “representativity” situations because if they are underrepresented even at the initial bother-to-apply point, each successive winnowing is going to require a proportionally larger fraction of their group to rank higher than the cutoff to make it.

I would not be too sure – this is sound recruiting policy but it in turn would be reflective of the minorities’ opportunities to gain those capabilities or to be prepared for that training, i.e. pre-enlistment education, where there still are gaps.

People (of any race) with low bodyfat will not be able to float, but can still swim propelled by their muscles. And I expect that SEALs (of any race) probably all have very low bodyfat.

I don’t follow… If the attrition processes are color-blind, then one would expect that the racial proportions of those selected will be approximately the same as the proportions of the applicants. You do still need the applicants, but the problem isn’t going to get any worse from the selection process.

The overall percentage of blacks serving in the United States Navy is 19.3%. If the percentage of blacks serving in Navy Seal units is 2% that’s statistically significant.

As do most elite male swimmers.

The 2% number is officers.

Whoever wrote that article appears to believe that being a certain color gives you instant comprehension of anybody whose skin tone is similar to yours. They’re mixing “few blacks in commandos” with “we may deploy anywhere so we need to be able to interact with different cultures”.

After that, I’d take anything from that article with a huge chunk of salt.

I find the swimming lessons part hard to stomach. The US is one of the richest countries in the world and even the poorest would have access to some kind of facility, or barring that, some natural substitute. I mean, the Philippines is a poor country but someone bent on learning to swim is bound to find a way, discounting the fact that we are an archipelago with 7,000 islands.

I doubt it. Seventy percent of blacks and Latinos live in cities or inner-ring suburbs, where natural swimming holes are unlikely to be found. Such locales may have public swimming pools, but even there you are unlikely to obtain free/cheap swimming lessons, and merely splashing around in the water isn’t going to teach good technique. Moreover, many financially-distressed cities are closing public pools (see, e.g., Detroit’s woes), while others are concentrating resources on the cheaper-to-build-and-operate “splash parks,” which don’t have water deep enough for swimming.

Per the article cited above, more than two-thirds of black children in the U.S. can’t swim.