Re: Yellow vs. Khaki-last time
(no name) ((no email))
Thu, 6 Jun 1996 12:34:44 -0500
Hi Don! I've taken two of your paragraphs out of the context you
gave them, only to make the discussion flow a little better.
>This will be my final posting on this subject, because apparently I am
>missing something here! I keep hearing about "equality", and "second-class
>leaders", etc. What on earth has the color of one's uniform got to do with
>status, real or perceived?
>Why is it necessary to read hidden meanings into simple uniform
>rules? I suspect that any inequality or inferior status perceived by female
>leaders has less to do with the color of their uniforms than with the
>attitude of the male leaders in their units.
Several nationally-respected research projects dealing with race and
differences, one which in part aired as part of ABC-TV's _Nightline_ program's
week-long discussion on racial matters, have supported contentions that
those that are percieved as "different" get treated as "different" even though
they may be exactly the same as the "majority".
To demostrate this effect, a teacher had students of a majority eye color sit
toward the front of the room, called upon them to do extra tasks and even
allowed them to go to recess and lunch earlier than those with the "minority"
eye color. The color of the skin of the child did not matter...if the
"blue" or "green" eyes, they were to be relegated to the rear of the room and
those with "brown" eyes were to sit and group together up front.
The children saw this as a a game until the "cues" that the teacher was giving
to the students started to sink in, and eventually the demostration had to be
halted after students started to verbally and physically demean each other.
What does this have to do with the color of a uniform worn by Scouters, you
may ask? Let's look at this from a parental point-of-view: A parent comes
to a Pack Meeting, and observes several adults in khakitan walking around,
instructing Cubs, and talking with parents. At the start of the Pack Meeting,
the "main adult" comes forth and present awards. Other adults in that same
uniform outfit are assisting or providing continuity in the program. Still
adults, dressed in a yellow and blue outfit, are sitting with Cubs, instructing
and working with them.
The new parent doesn't know the difference between the two uniforms, but
as they participate within the program and with their child longer, a pattern
emerges: the ones "leading" are in, for the most part, khakitan (I'll get
BSA policy stuff in a minute, trust me!); the ones "following" are, for the
most part, in yellow and blue.
This also says something about gender roles in Cub Scouting, because only
females wear blue and gold; males wear the khakitan. This was true perhaps
when the BSA was considered a male-restrictive organization: the Den Mothers
wore blue and gold (except the WEBELOS Den Leader (note the title), which
got to wear the same uniforms as the male Cubmaster and Assistants.
However, we are seeing more female Cubmasters and Assistants and the BSA
has all but eliminated the "Den Mother" role in favor of allowing any adult to
serve as any level leader....only thing: the uniform that they wear is STILL
a throwback to the old days of "males lead; females follow".
This "attitude" can be carried unknowlingly by adults, performing their
roles within the program, and is something that both Cub and parent picks
up. You're correct...it's more than the uniform. It's the person WEARING the
uniform. This is one of the main reasons why the Cub Scout Program
Division has been emphasizing that ALL Cub Scouting leaders take an
active role during the planning, implementation and evaluation of each month's
Pack Meeting and each Pack activity.
> Someone said male leaders "get to wear the tan
>uniform", as if this were some kind of privilege compared to wearing a
>uniform of another color! Why, for goodness sake?
For the same reason that we attach so much significance to the shoulder loop
color between National and Regional volunteers and professionals, Council
and District level volunteers and professionals, and participants in our
For the same reason in part why Cub Scouts want to be Boy Scouts; and
when Explorers wore "sharp uniforms", why Boy Scouts wanted to be
For the same reason why Scouts want to wear the Eagle Scout square knot
instead of the oval-shaped badge....they cannot WAIT to turn 18 so that
they can wear the knot ("way more cool") than the old badge, even though
BSA has revised this same badge FOUR times in a little less than 20 years.
> The statement that these
>others may be Cubmaster, Assistant Cubmaster, committe members, etc. who can
>and do wear the tan uniform is of course, incorrect, as I pointed out in my
>reference to the Cub Scout Leader Book uniforming section: female leaders
>will wear the blue & gold uniform, the ONLY exceptions are: Webelos leaders,
>Assistant Webelos leaders, and Webelos Den Leader Coaches.
Again, that reference is correct and valid for this discussion. However, take a
look at the "typical Pack" and you'll find many more Scouters wearing the
khahitan uniform...and "justifying it" by registering with a Boy Scout unit or
with the District and "multipling" as the Den Leader of Den 2, Pack 222.
There's just something about that tan uniform being the "universal wear" for
ALL volunteers WITH THE ONLY EXCEPTION BEING CUB SCOUTING.
How many Boy Scouters do you see wearing the blue and gold? Exploring
leaders? District or Council leaders whom are NOT Cubmasters or Assistants?
(Remember that the PRIMARY ("Paid") POSITION is supposed to dictate
the uniform and insignia of the person. We have a large number of females
whom are primarily registered as Pack Committeemember and serves as
Assistant Scoutmaster, and instead of wearing the blue and gold during
Troop activities and meetings, wear the tan uniform instead. There are a lot
of District/Council Cubbers that are also in the same vein.)
I do NOT take task with the fact that there's a BSA policy on uniforming for
Cub Scouting leaders, and that Cub Scouting leaders should be wearing the
appropriate uniform for their position. I DO take task with the fact that one
year, my wife may be the Den Leader and the following year, serve as
Assistant WEBELOS Den Leader and will NOT want to go out and purchase
the "new uniform" for their status. Nor will most new adults wanting to
"progress with their sons" yet are looking for any way possible to cut the
costs of Scouting (do you blame them?).
(which brings up a really great point: how many Cub Scouters are out there
that are serving as Assistant WEBELOS Den Leader or Den Leader Coach
>Cub Scouts wear
>different uniforms than Boy Scouts, does that make them "unequal" or "second-
Sure! Take a look at this:
Cub Scout Boy Scout
Can't overnight camp Overnight camp
Work with family Works with other Scouts and adults
Limited number of awards (counting merit badges) 200+ awards to earn
camps in "Cub World" Goes to Philmont, Jamborees and other
I could go on with this, but as you can figure out, the differences between Cub
and Scout is NOT just a uniform; it is also MATURITY and AGE. Now, if we
had all of our adults older than 40 (that would leave me out for a few years
*grinning*) wearing the dark green Explorer shirts; and everyone else wear
the current khakitan, THEN you would get the same connection you're
addressing here. But we're talking about two ADULTS, equal in age, equal
(an assumption here) in maturity, wearing TWO DIFFERENT uniforms
because one's a male and the other's a female.
Again, I state that two Den Leaders in the same Pack are wearing two
DIFFERENT uniforms. Not because of training, or experience, or even
tenure...but simply because of sex. This can be rather confusing to the
new parent, trying to understand the program. A bruise to the ego of the
female Cub Scouter when in explaining it, she states "Because I'm a woman
and he's a man."
Some folks will respond by stating "But after all, Mike, isn't this the BOY
Scouts of America"? Great point. So how come our female Scoutmasters
and Assistants, our female Exploring leaders and all of our Commissioners
and other female volunteers *aren't wearing that yellow blouse*?
> As a Cubmaster, I have always
>dislike this, and it does not occur in my pack, but I admit that I have seen
>it all too often in other units. Changing the color of the uniform will not
>do anything to correct this. Can't we go on to more important things? If
>people feel that violating uniform policy will somehow make them feel more
>secure, I guess that's their own business, but it's not supported by the Boy
>Scouts of America, nor should it be.
Perhaps the changing of the uniforms won't make a hill of beans, Don.
Perhaps some adults need the security that such *minor* things can bring
to them (minor only compared to other things which are of more and
important consequence, like losing a Cub Scout). I'm of the opinion that
sooner or later, the BSA will drop this small bit of "tradition" and allow
those that wish to wear the "generic uniform" to do so, and those that
want to wear the "female Cub Scouters' uniform" to also do so.
The BSA will support whatever modification is coming (and it is coming
sooner or later), and because we're Scouters, we'll be happy and will
encourage everyone to wear the uniform correctly and smartly.
Until then, you are correct in saying that we should be in the current,
correct uniform for our status within the program.
I hope that my comments will shed more light onto a issue which some
Scouters find very unfair and which within the past few years, has become
something that our elected Scouters in our local Councils and Regions
has asked our national uniform committee to take a long, careful and
eye-opened look at with the aim of correcting and clarifying.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services of Kentucky (502.826.7046) __)_
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