Sometimes it’s blatant. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it is perceived but isn’t there. For me, discrimination was, “I know it when I see it” kind of phenomenon. There were no racial comments made to me or signs to promotion and jobs that read “Whites Only”. My Jim Crow situation happened while I was in the California Air National Guard. I did not know it at the time, but the National Guard maintained a Jim Crow evaluation policy the entire time I was in service. I alleged in federal court the Guards discriminatory evaluation policy had an adverse impact on me and other minorities like me. I discovered the Jim Crow evaluation system online while researching the National Guards Dual-Status-Technician (DST) program.
In the 21st Century, we have technology and so the litigation game has changed. I used my computer to get inside the Guard, I entered their databases and looked through numerous files and documents. When I found the documents to prove the Guard knew about its own Racist practices, I downloaded the financial documents and submitted them to the courts. Back then, I was not a computer hacker or protestor, I did not work for WikiLeaks. I was a whistleblower who wanted to know just how scandalous the Guard was and I found out.
It all begin in 2009 after I constructively discharged from the California Air National Guard and walked directly into federal court. I threw lots of antiquated compensation and benefits policies on the record, which looked like they hadn’t been updated since the 70’s, probably around the time President George W. Bush was in the Texas National Guard. I threw the documents on the record in anger, because I felt tricked into joining the military. In order to be eligible for dual employment in the Guard you had to join the military first. After, I joined the military, getting a full-time leadership position seemed impossible. At the time, the California National Guard had an all white leadership. This led me to feel I was being discriminated against because of my skin color. In my book I go into detail about how the California Air National Guard changed its leadership by 130%; and transitioned from a two-tier to a five-tier performance evaluation policy.
I filed my discrimination complaint with the National Guard in 2008 and then in federal court in 2009. The federal courts decided my discrimination claim was barred by its own policy, the Feres Doctrine.
In my opinion, the Feres Doctrine is not the law. With that said, I believed at the start of litigation I had to do something different, which was to write a book about my allegations and journey through the United States Supreme Court. I believed that other blacks needed to know about the National Guards alleged discriminatory evaluation system, allegations it attempted to cover it up and the sanction I requested for failure to preserve it.
It is not uncommon for African Americans to be in a courtroom with judges, clerks and other professionals who use alternative facts, tamper with the evidence and skip legal processes and procedures, just to win their case. So, I knew the game before I went entered court house.
Here is the back story…
In June 2005, Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, an appointee of President George W. Bush published the National Guard performance evaluation policy. Later, in November 2009 Blum’s evaluation policy disappeared. It was an active policy during the time I was in the Guard and when I filed my federal complaint it disappeared. It was like my evidence to prove the National Guards Jim Crow Evaluation System suddenly vanished.
After I filed my federal lawsuit, in 2009, the National Guard Bureau published a new performance evaluation policy which did not reference Blum’s version as its last revision. The Guards new 2009 evaluation policy read as if the only prior revision to its’ National Guard Technician Performance policy was published in 1997. The 2009 evaluation policy was inaccurate and therefore misleading, and I alleged that as much during litigation. To prove my point, the Guard’s 1997, 2005 and 2009 performance evaluation policies with court markings are provided at the back of my memoir. In my appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of
The 2009 evaluation policy was inaccurate and therefore misleading, and I alleged that as much during litigation. To prove my point, the Guard’s 1997, 2005 and 2009 evaluation policies with court markings are provided at the back of my memoir. In my appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, I submitted policies from several states who supplemented Blum’s 2005 policy.
The only thing I could do during litigation was observe, write and preserve the National Guard Jim Crow evaluation system and write about it in my memoir. I felt it was just wrong on so many levels to deny review of my discrimination claim, and then destroy the policy that would substantiate my complaint about my experiences as a dual-status technician in the California Air National Guard.
In early June 1864, Private Sylvester Ray of the 2d U.S. Colored Cavalry was recommended for trial because he refused to accept pay inferior to that of white soldiers. Later that month, Congress granted equal pay to the U.S. Colored troops and made the action retroactive. The treatment of African American in the military regarding their compensation has changed very little. In 2014, the National Guard changed its budget, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amended the National Guard Technicians Act, by ordering any wrongful discrimination claim brought by a dual-status technician to be considered a complaint made by a member of the armed forces, thereby expanding the scope of the Feres Doctrine in one fell swoop and making itself the sole arbiter for paying out all wrongful discrimination claims. Discrimination claims filed prior to the 2014 budget change are mostly unpaid.
So, why should African Americans in the Guard know about this alleged Jim Crow evaluation system? The answer is because Black history is important, especially if it involves pay. The Guards discriminatory evaluation policy affects more than me. It negatively impacts anyone who has ever filed a discrimination complaint in the National Guard between 1997 and 2014.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial professional but If the Guard had to pay out all its discrimination claims before its budget change, it would mean the largest number of discrimination cases overturned in U.S. history due to it poor record keeping.
The National Guard did not keep a record of its Jim Crow evaluation performance system before it changed its budget, but I did. It did not take any corrective actions to acknowledge and compensate anyone who may have been adversely affected by its discriminatory evaluation system during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Instead, the National Guard barred my discrimination claim first, then changed the budget and law to regulate discrimination claims by dual-status technicians.
The Feres Doctrine was the argument the National Guard used to declare its performance evaluation policy unreviewable because it says benefits are available through the California Veterans Benefits Department. Since 2009, I have no received a cent from the Veterans Administration.
My memoir does not promote, advertise or guarantee any money owed to anyone. The documents at the back of the book were preserved to be shared with anyone who may have thought, heard, or felt discriminated against while in the National Guard between 1997 and 2014.
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Last update: April 17, 2017
“Still Waiting”, is a powerful memoir written by a California National Guard whistleblower, while she waits for her veterans benefits. In her memoir, Janetra Johnson chronicles a time in the National Guard in which there were two major document scandals surrounding President George W. Bush’s performance. In the book, Janetra connects the dots between the financial scandals in the Texas and California National Guard, the two largest Guard states in the United States, and the corporate accounting scandals that occurred between 2000-2002. “Still Waiting”, is an eBook written by Janetra as she waits for the veteran’s benefits she feels is owed to her.