A political science professor at the US Air Force Academy has been accused of teaching “dangerous wokeism” after revealing she uses critical race theory to help cadets “understand the history of the racism” that shaped America.
In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Lynne Chandler Garcia noted that the US was founded on a “duality” between “liberalism and equal rights” on one hand, and “inequality, inegalitarianism, and second-class citizenship” on the other.
“It [critical race theory] helps students identify the structural racism and inequality that has been endemic in American society. And it provides methods for deconstructing oppressive beliefs, policies, and practices to find solutions that will lead to justice,” Garcia wrote.
I teach critical race theory to our nation’s future military leaders because it is vital that cadets understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.
Garcia, who has taught at the academy in Colorado Springs for the past four years, echoed comments by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, who said, during a congressional defense budget hearing last month, that critical race theory would help “understand [the] white rage” behind the January 6 Capitol Hill riot.
Garcia also echoed the general’s contention that it was important to be open-minded and widely read. She noted that it was not “unpatriotic” to understand a “fuller version” of US history, and claimed it would not “promote division among our military members.”
She also took aim at the US Constitution, noting it once “allowed slavery and has been used to perpetuate legal discrimination.” Since cadets swear an oath to defend this founding document to the death, Garcia stated that it was “crucial they have a sensitive understanding” about it.
Garcia argued that “racism was ingrained in the [military] system from the beginning,” as the first commander in chief, George Washington, was “said to have initially opposed the recruitment of black soldiers.” She also cited a recent defense department report on the threat of white supremacy within the forces to suggest that cadets “need to understand these contradictions within their institutions.”
Concluding, Garcia wrote that, just as cadets “learn to be brave on the literal battlefield,” exposure to critical race theory would equip them to “participate bravely on the battlefield of ideas.”
While some applauded the piece, plenty on social media claimed Garcia was weakening the armed forces instead, with one person claiming the effects of her work would be to the “detriment of our nation’s security and readiness”. Another said that, after being taught “how bad this country is, then the next logical step is to no longer defend it.”
In a series of tweets dissecting the column, former USAF officer John Cooper said Garcia’s contention that critical race theory would not promote division was “easy for a career academic to write,” but did not “match the reality of unit dynamics.”
2) It's foolish to argue that these professors are "just teaching the concepts" when senior military leaders have made clear they support the tenets of CRT, or at least are willing to bow to the woke mob pushing them on society.— John Cooper (@thejcoop) July 7, 2021
“We’re not talking about honestly teaching young men and women concepts so they can think critically. We’re talking about indoctrinating them with radical ideas because the Left views the military as an opportunity for social experimentation,” Cooper claimed.
However, another retired service member, Stephan Jensen, considered the op-ed “fairly thoughtful and well-reasoned” and claimed it was “precisely the kind of approach you want to build the kind of intellectual smorgåsbord required for a good officer education.”
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