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Sen. Tom Cotton demands Raytheon explain using critical race theory in training materials

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Jan. 8, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
July 13, 2021

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) is demanding more information regarding top defense contractor Raytheon’s use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in training materials that may violate federal non-discrimination law.  

In a Tuesday letter to Raytheon Company Chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes, Cotton highlighted the company’s “Stronger Together Employee Guide,” which encourages employees to become “anti-racists,” a term promoted by activist author Ibram X. Kendi, who is quoted in the guide.  

“This material is rooted in a radical ideology called Critical Race Theory that denounces the United States as systemically racist and rejects important aspects of the American civil-rights tradition, including equality before the law,” Cotton wrote. The senator asked for a response from Raytheon by July 23.

“Kendi, for example, openly advocates for discrimination on the basis of race to correct perceived injustices,” Cotton continued. “Your company’s trainings repeat aspects of Critical Race Theory, urging employees not to treat each other equally, without regard to race, but ‘equitably,’ a term that is often used to justify unequal treatment on the basis of race.”

According to Cotton, the company’s training materials also include “gross stereotypes” of a number of groups, including labeling black people as being “exhausted, frustrated, stressed, barely sleeping, scared and overwhelmed,” and white people, Christians, able-bodied individuals, straight people and English speakers as “privileged” people who have “the luxury to ignore injustices.”

Cotton also points out that the trainings advise employees to review a number of reading materials, including an article that supports the “Defund the Police” movement.

“Given Raytheon’s extensive business with law-enforcement groups, I find it hard to believe that the ‘Defund the Police’ movement is in the interests of Raytheon’s shareholders, let alone its employees and customers—all of whom are normal citizens who would suffer the consequences of rising crime,” Cotton noted.

“Setting aside the business sense of your company’s advocacy, Raytheon’s employee trainings appear to violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of race or engaging in any activities that ‘limit, segregate, or classify’ employees,’” Cotton continued.

Earlier this year, Cotton introduced legislation known as the Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act to prohibit the U.S. military “from promoting racist theories, most notably Critical Race Theory.”

In a press statement shared with American Military News, Cotton said, “Our military’s strength depends on the unity of our troops and the knowledge that America is a noble nation worth fighting for. Critical Race Theory teaches that race is a person’s most important characteristic, and that America is an evil, oppresive place.”

Cotton’s pushback against Critical Race Theory and “anti-racist” education comes as CRT continues to appear in every level of the United States military. Recently, the Air Force Academy admitted to using CRT in its coursework and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told Congress that the theory “is important,” expressing his desire to “understand white rage.”