A Republican congressman and Army veteran is seeking answers from the U.S. Military Academy about “elements of critical race theory” being made part of instruction for cadets at West Point, including seminars on “systemic racism” and presentation slides discussing “White Power” and “Racist Dog Whistles.”
Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, a former Green Beret and Afghanistan War veteran, sent a letter to West Point’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, telling him, “Information has recently come to my attention from unsettled soldiers, cadets, and families that raises serious concerns about the U.S. Army’s introduction of elements of critical race theory into cadet instruction. While we should always eradicate extremism of all forms from our ranks and never tolerate racism, I am alarmed that this doctrine that focuses our future leaders on race in ways that will be detrimental to unit cohesion, destructive to morale, and strain the readiness of our armed forces.”
Waltz first noted the letter during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News on Thursday.
“We had a brief phone call, he assured me they’re looking into it and assured me that I will promptly get a more formal response laying out what’s being taught and why in more detail,” Waltz told the Washington Examiner of his Thursday discussion with West Point’s leader, adding, “We’re going to continue to press and get to the bottom of it.”
Screenshots obtained by the Washington Examiner seem to back up the claim that these sorts of theories had been introduced at West Point. Events deemed to be “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” seminars included “Viewing: The Defamation Experience” and “Workshop: Understanding Systemic Racism” — and the message indicated that “you MUST attend at least one of these seminars.” A presentation by the Army Cyber Institute at West Point included slides discussing “White Power at West Point” and “Racist Dog Whistles at West Point.” And a slide depicting a lecture by Emory University professor Dr. Carol Anderson titled “Understanding Whiteness and White Rage” in February seemed to have been put on by Ike Hall (Eisenhower Hall Theatre) at West Point.
“Dr. Anderson is a controversial, partisan academic, who has made no secret where she stands politically,” Waltz wrote in his letter to West Point, noting that in her book, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, highlighted in the presentation, she contended, “The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement. It is not the mere presence of black people that is the problem; rather, it is blackness with ambition, drive, purpose, aspirations, and with demands for full and equal citizenship.” The congressman also pointed out that a 2019 op-ed for Time by Anderson claimed that Republicans “yearn for a white republic.” He also included her tweet from August 2020 in which she argued that former President Donald Trump was “a white nationalist,” and so “the GOP's platform is, therefore, white nationalism.”
“These are only a few examples of Dr. Anderson’s incredibly divisive language. I find it incredulous the U.S. Military Academy is requiring cadets to take courses with this highly politicized demagoguery,” Waltz wrote, adding that “these teachings run counter to the history and ethos of our apolitical military.”
Waltz argued that the claims made by Anderson are “the same language the Soviet Union has historically deployed and the Chinese Communist Party [are] currently deploying about the United States in hopes of causing domestic turmoil and international pressure.” The congressman told West Point that “the mission of the Academy is to build future leaders for an Army that must deter and if need be, defeat the militaries of China, Iran, and Russia” and “it is not your duty to indoctrinate future Army leaders into a particular political ideology.”
West Point did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
The letter from Waltz comes at the end of a two-month stand-down within the U.S. military ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in early February, with the Pentagon memo stating that “we will not tolerate actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share” and instructing units to address any extremism in the ranks.
“Subjecting our future military leaders to mandatory seminars that blanket a specific race with accusations and remorse will bring irreparable harm to unity in the institution of the Army,” Waltz wrote to West Point, adding, “These critical race theory teachings take aim at those key pillars and pit cadets against one another through divisive indoctrination under the pressure of ‘wokeism.’ There is no doubt our country has had to overcome atrocious racial bigotry. We have made enormous progress and there is still much to be done in our country. But, the United States military, uniquely in American society, must strive to unify.”
In February, GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana penned a letter to Adm. Michael Gilday following the Navy including Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist on the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program for 2021. Banks contended, “According to Kendi, America is fundamentally racist, so anti-Americanism is a moral imperative … Kendi’s ideas are divisive and will undermine morale and weaken our national security.”
Gilday responded in March by saying the book would not be removed.
“The military needs to be the bastion of a merit-based, mission-focused institution. Diversity is a great thing, reflecting American society in our military is a great thing, but at the end of the day, they need to be postured, prepared, trained to fight and win wars,” Waltz told the Washington Examiner.
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