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US troops forced to segregate by race and sex for ‘privilege walks,’ told they’re racist and more, Sen. Cotton says

A photo of military boots during the deployment ceremony for the Alabama Army National Guard 128th Military Police Company leaving for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bob Gathany/HVT/TNS)
June 14, 2021

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) highlighted mandatory racially charged training sessions taking place within the military during a Thursday Senate hearing with President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Cotton summarized several of the complaints he had received in a whistleblower tip line he established with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) to allow troops to report on the “woke” and racially charged training in which they are being forced to participate. Cotton noted several examples of racially charged activities, including segregation, mandatory training and reading, and superiors declaring entire branches or units racist.

“One Marine told us a military history training session was replaced with
mandatory training on police brutality, White privilege, and systemic racism,” Cotton said. “He reported that several officers are now leaving his unit citing that training.”

“Another service member told us that their unit was required to read ‘White Fragility’ by Robin DiAngelo, which claims ‘White people raised in Western society are conditioned in a White supremacist world view,’” Cotton continued.

In a third example, Cotton said a member of the U.S. special operation community said they were instructed that “the U.S. special operations community is racist.”

Another Army officer similarly relayed to Cotton’s tipline that a superior told him “the entire U.S. Army is racist.”

“A midshipman at the Naval Academy said classmates are calling America a fundamentally racist place and that this sentiment is not contested by school administrators,” Cotton continued.

“An airman told us their unit was forced into a racist exercise called a privilege walk, where members of the wing were ordered to separate themselves by race and gender in order to stratify people based on their perceived privilege.”

Cotton relayed another complaint from a black female Navy officer, who said, “the Navy thinks my only value is as black woman and not the fact that she is a highly trained military specialist.”

Cotton said U.S. troops throughout the services have come forward with complaints that they have been forced to watch videos about systemic racism and documentaries “that rewrite America’s history as a fundamentally racist and evil nation.”

“Mr. Secretary, we’re hearing reports of plummeting morale, growing mistrust between the races and sexes where none existed just six months ago, and unexpected retirements and separations based on these trainings alone,” Cotton said. “And again, these are not my words, these are the words of your own troops.”

During the exchange, Cotton asked Austin whether he agreed with the premise that the U.S. military is a fundamentally racist organization.

“I won’t give you a yes or no answer on that senator because it deserves more than a yes or no,” Austin responded. “The military, like any organization, will have its challenges, but I do not believe it is a fundamentally racist organization.”

Cotton then asked Austin whether he believes anyone in the military should be treated differently because of their skin color or sex.

“Again, this question deserves more than a yes or no answer,” Austin responded.

Cotton pressed Austin again on the question, to which Austin replied, “No, I do not believe” that a service member should be treated differently on the basis of skin color or sex. “That is why we have diversity, equity and inclusion focus in the military.”

Cotton responded, “The military for decades has been one of the institutions in this society where you are most likely to get ahead based on your own performance, on your own merit, irrespective of the color of your skin or where you came from or who your parents were.”