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Air Force Academy professor says critical race theory should be taught to all military academy students

Cadets with the class of 2020 graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., April 18, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dennis Hoffman)
July 07, 2021

An Air Force Academy professor called for all military academies to teach critical race theory (CRT) in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday.

According to associate professor of political science Lynne Chandler Garcia, teaching critical race theory is “vital” so cadets “understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.”

Garcia agreed with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who recently defended teaching critical race theory at West Point and said it was important for service members to understand “white rage.” Both Garcia and Milley claimed that CRT “is not unpatriotic” nor does it “promote division among our military members.”

“In my classes, cadets learn about the ideals embedded in this founding document. We explore the liberalist theories that promoted these ideals, and we embrace our democratic system of government,” Garcia wrote. “But we also acknowledge that the United States was founded on a duality: liberalism and equal rights on the one hand; inequality, inegalitarianism and second-class citizenship on the other.”

Garia claimed CRT offers a framework to “understand these nuances and contradictions,” in addition to helping students “identify the structural racism and inequality that has been endemic in American society.” It also purportedly “provides methods for deconstructing oppressive beliefs, policies and practices” as part of an effort to seek solutions “that will lead to justice.”

Garcia further claimed that “racism was ingrained in the system from the beginning, and the military still struggles with these issues.”

“Officers must comprehend the unique experiences and concerns of their diverse troops. A holistic education leads to understanding and unity as service members consider what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes,” Garcia wrote.

She added that officer development curriculum is about pushing cadets outside their comfort zones, insisting that CRT is critical to cadets’ mental development.

“They jump out of planes, leap off 10-meter platforms, endure grueling physical challenges and assume difficult command responsibilities. Their intellectual development should be no different,” she said. “To think critically and read broadly is fundamental to making them future leaders for times of both war and peace.”

“I don’t coddle my cadets out of fear that exposure to certain literatures might make them uncomfortable or test their existing beliefs,” Garcia continued. “Cadets must learn to be brave on the literal battlefield, yes — but they must also be equipped to participate bravely on the battlefield of ideas.”

Also on Tuesday, prominent critical race theory critic Christopher Rufo shared documents reportedly obtained from within the defense contractor Raytheon, which tells white employees to “identify their privilege” and provides a list of resources to “understand and share what ‘defund the police’ really means,” “decolonize your bookshelf” and “participate in reparations.”