It probably won’t surprise our readers that racial discrimination exists even within ostensibly neutral organizations like the Department of Veterans Affairs . But a newly resurfaced report obtained by NBC News may provide some cold hard evidence.
According to NBC News , the report found that Black veterans were more likely to get denied benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder than white veterans.
The data reportedly looked at approvals from 2011 and 2016. Black veterans were denied these benefits 57 percent of the time, while white veterans were denied 43 percent of the time. What’s worse, research has found that Black veterans actually suffer higher rates of PTSD.
These awards aren’t just about acknowledging the pain and suffering of war veterans. Veterans awarded benefits for PTSD can qualify for special health care coverage, financial compensation, and treatment specific to PTSD.
For people suffering from PTSD, getting help can be the difference between life and death .
The Department of Veterans Affairs has stayed relatively quiet on these alleged disparities. Terrance Hayes, a spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs, told NBC News that the VA did not have current data on racial disparities in PTSD awards to share with the public.
Although as a part of Biden’s new equity initiative , Hayes says that data on racial disparities will be the “first order of business.”
For some Black veterans, that message rings flat. “If they don’t know, it’s because they don’t want to know,” Richard Brookshire, a Black veteran from Baltimore, Maryland, told NBC News Washington.
Brookshire says it’s frustrating that the military heavily recruits from Black communities but can’t be bothered to provide accurate public data on what happens to them once they become veterans.
Time will tell whether we actually start to see data on the experiences of Black veterans. But if the data is anything like what NBC News uncovered, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a whole lot of explaining to do.