Despite protestations to the contrary, the Defense Department is pushing Critical Race Theory (CRT) in at least one of its elite military academies. More than a year ago, Liberty Nation described CRT as a destructive and divisive course of instruction, pitting race against race and economic class against economic class. In the meantime, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has attempted to distance the military from accusations that it advocates the theory. At a press conference in July 2021, Austin said:
“You’ve heard me say that critical race theory is not something that this department teaches, professes, embraces. You’ve also heard a couple of people at academic institutions say that they have required this to be reading for their students in specific courses. But because that is the case does not mean that this department embraces this theory.”
A Judicial Watch report on June 20 revealed that government records portray something entirely different. After requests to the Department of Defense (DOD) for specific documents describing CRT training in the military were ignored, Judicial Watch resorted to FOIA lawsuits to acquire 518 pages of course material and 135 pages of official memoranda and other documents. One might wonder, if the DOD was proud of its curriculum at West Point and other institutions, why did it take a lawsuit to produce the foundational documents?
Typical of the West Point CRT syllabus is Lesson 14. This set of PowerPoint charts, “Barbershop and DuBois,” uses a black barbershop as a metaphor to distinguish “whiteness” from the black community’s experience. The first line of Chart Six, titled “Whiteness,” asserts: “In order to understand racial inequality and slavery, it is first necessary to address whiteness.” The initial bullet point invokes Ruth Frankenberg’s statement: “White people and people of color live racially different structured lives.” A sociologist and feminist activist born in Cardiff, Wales, Frankenberg saw society as composed of oppressors, white people, and the oppressed – all others.
What is disturbing and intellectually anemic about the West Point presentation is that there is no evidence presented to back up blanket assertions. Also missing are critical introspection and commonly accepted opposing views. Does it make common sense that all whites are oppressors and all others are oppressed? The content presented is fundamentally divisive, pitting one group against another. Secretary Austin seemed to be agnostic on the topic in June 2021 when he testified before the House Armed Services Committee, saying, “Now, whether or not this was some sort of critical examination of different theories, I don’t know.” Well, now we know: It is definitely not that.
There is a reason the CRT point of view cannot be part of the accepted ethos imprinted on the moral consciousness of soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, and Guardians, who must depend on each other to stay alive in combat. Because President Donald Trump understood this, he directed the Defense Department not to present CRT propaganda to military service members. In the category of breathtaking irony, among the plethora of material the Defense Department finally coughed up under legal pressure, the first document was the Department of the Army (DA) “Implementation of Executive Order 13950 on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” that President Trump issued on September 22, 2020. What is significant about the DA memo is Paragraph Four, which states: “We must continue fostering a culture built on trust and on one accepting the experiences, cultures, characteristics, and backgrounds each Soldier and Civilian brings to the Army.”
CRT is anathema to “fostering a culture built on trust.” It’s why Trump’s Executive Office of the President issued in September 2020 a memo to department heads for “Ending Employee Trainings that Use Divisive Propaganda to Undermine the Principle of Fair and Equal Treatment for All.” The document expressly referred to CRT training as sowing “division among the workforce by attempting to prescribe and impose upon employees a conformity of belief in ideologies that label entire groups of Americans as inherently racist or evil (e.g., critical race theory).”
During a Fox News interview, Björn Olson, a former active-duty Marine, offered the perfect critique of CRT: “You’re putting your life on the line, and you are there to also save and protect the person to the right or left of you or to be saved by the person to the right or left of you … Imagine being on the front lines, and you’re not entirely sure if you can trust the Marine to your left or right.”
CRT pushes a dark and cancerous ideology that can metastasize throughout the military. West Point is where Americans look to find educated and dedicated military officers with credible integrity and ethical standards worthy of emulating. CRT destroys that credibility, and, without it, who needs West Point?
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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