A Republican congressman has called for an Air Force Academy professor who defended teaching critical race theory to be removed from her position, describing her comments as “utterly unacceptable and incompatible with the mission of our United States Military Service Academies.”
“Disparaging the United States as a racist country should disqualify anyone from teaching at one of our country’s most prestigious institutions,” Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), a West Point graduate and retired US Army major, told Acting Air Force Secretary John Roth in a letter dated Wednesday.
“Our service academies prepare young men and women to fight for our country. How can we expect anyone to fight for a country they are taught is racist?”
Green was responding to a Washington Post op-ed by Lynne Chandler García, an associate professor of political science. García wrote that she teaches critical race theory because “it is vital that cadets understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.”
Critical race theory holds that racism underlies all human interaction and views the human experience as a constant struggle between the races, often with a focus on “white privilege.” Concerns that the theory will be studied in elementary, middle and high schools have led to a backlash from parents and Republican lawmakers, who say it teaches children to judge each other based on skin color.
“In my classes, cadets learn about the ideals embedded in this founding document,” wrote García, referring to the Constitution. “We explore the liberalist theories that promoted these ideals, and we embrace our democratic system of government. 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.”
García went on to say that the military “still struggles” with issues of racism, which she claimed was “ingrained in the system from the beginning.”
“I don’t coddle my cadets out of fear that exposure to certain literatures might make them uncomfortable or test their existing beliefs,” she concluded. “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.”
In his letter to Roth, Green wrote that “I know firsthand what is taught at these service academies leaves a lasting impact … If we want servicemembers who are proud to defend this country, we must not denigrate the very principles upon which it was founded. Making them ashamed of their country only decreases morale, retention, and unit cohesion.
“Critical Race Theory teaches that the only way to right past racial discrimination is with present racial discrimination. This teaching is utterly incompatible with the principles in the Declaration of Independence and the Civil Rights Movement—not to mention illegal,” Green continued.
“Our country already lived through a horrific era when people were judged by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character—we must never go back to this way of thinking … If we allow this destructive ideology to be taught in our Military Service Academies, we will be responsible for this nation’s demise.”
The op-ed by García, a former US Army military analyst, was published in response to a confrontation between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and House Republican lawmakers over the teaching of critical race theory at West Point.
“I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform, to be open-minded and be widely read, and the United States Military Academy is a university, and it is important that we train and we understand,” Milley said before adding: “And I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it.”
García did not immediately respond to a request for comment.