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US Army teaching officers at Fort Leavenworth that white people can’t experience racism

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers' boots. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
April 13, 2023

The U.S. Army at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth is teaching officers in intermediate level education (ILE) that white people can’t experience racism, defining racism as “a complex system of believes and behaviors that result in the oppression of people of color and benefit the dominant group.”

The definition of racism is taught in an elective course called “Race and Gender in U.S. Military History,” which is available for up to 32 students each year. The course is taught by Angela Riotto, an assistant professor at the college, according to TRMLX, who first reported on the course.

The course description states that “an effective military only functions under the principles of equality and inclusion.”

“Manpower policy regarding inclusion and equality has only changed when forced to by the necessities of war or from outside social and political influence,” it continues. “This course will examine the history of service of minority groups and women in the U.S. Military, major amendments to manpower policy, and historic problems with presenting a less than unified force.”

Lt. Col. Josh Camara told American Military News in an email that the course is “discussion-based” and said it “provides a historical overview of minority groups and women in the U.S. Military.”

“Definitions for terms like ‘racism’, ‘sex’, and ‘gender’ provided in this class are used as baseline definitions to facilitate discussion on this topic. Students are intellectually challenged, and not taught to accept any one point of view, but to critically examine and discuss sometimes controversial concepts in the coursework,” Camara said.

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The course also defines gender as “a set of socially constructed characteristics, such as norms and behaviors, typically associated with being masculine, feminine, androgynous, or other.”

“The Command and General Staff College is at the forefront of building Army leaders ready to fight and win our nation’s wars,” Camara told American Military News in an email. “Students receive top-of-the-line instruction from some of the very best minds in the country. Training is regularly updated to provide engaging, and relevant courses that prepare Army leaders to succeed in a wide range of challenging environments.”

In order to become qualified for a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Army Majors must attend ILE, according to the FY 23 ILE Enrollment Guide.

“The Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) is the Army’s graduate-level curriculum and instruction for field grade officers and is commonly referred to as Intermediate Level Education (ILE),” the guide states. “It is the next required professional military education course to be completed after Captains Career Course. ILE Educates and trains leaders to conduct Decisive Action in a JIIM environment and advances the art and science of the profession of arms to support the operational requirements of the Army.”

Camara told American Military News that definitions for the course come from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and provided a link to the department’s “Key DEI Terms.” “DEI” is an acronym for “diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Other DEI definitions listed on the HHS website include:

  • Antiracism “is the policy or practice of actively and consciously opposing racism and promoting racial equity.”
  • Social justice “is a vision of a society that distributes equal resources to all individuals.”
  • Undocumented “is a foreign-born person living in a country without legal citizenship status.”
  • Cisgender “refers to a people whose assigned sex at birth aligns with their gender identity.”
  • Gender identity “is one’s internal sense of being a man, a woman, neither of these, both, or another gender(s). Gender is a social—not biological—construct.”
  • Heteronormativity “is the assumption that heterosexuality is natural, ideal, or superior to other sexual preferences.”
  • Misgendering “is referring to or using language to describe a transgender person that doesn’t align with their affirmed gender—for example, calling a transgender woman ‘he’ or ‘him.'”
  • Non-binary “refers to a person whose gender is neither only male nor only female.”
  • Sex assigned at birth “is the biological category (female, male, or intersex) given at birth based on biological characteristics (i.e., physical anatomy and hormones).”
  • Environmental racism “is the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color.”