NASA this week launched a new “equity” mission to recruit people from more diverse backgrounds — but it was quickly derided online as an unnecessary woke step toward “critical space theory.”
The space agency launched its “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities in NASA Programs, Contracts and Grants” program on Tuesday, sharing a video of staffers of varying racial backgrounds delivering the new inclusive message.
“At NASA, we’re on a mission of equity, launching opportunity … to reach those we’ve never reached before … To shatter boundaries and break down barriers across America,” the staffers say.
The agency said it wants to reach those who are “Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color” as well as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons.”
It is also seeking “members of religious minorities,” people with disabilities and “persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.“
“NASA is a 21st-century agency with 22nd-century goals. To be successful, it’s critical that NASA takes a comprehensive approach to address the challenges to equity we see today,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.
“Because when NASA opens doors to talent previously left untapped, the universe is the limit.”
White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice was among those who hailed it as a bold new step, tweeting that “@NASA just launched one of its most impactful missions yet.”
But it soon came under fire, with former US Space Force unit Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier telling Fox News that it was “potentially even illegally discriminatory.”
He insisted that “NASA has historically been … a symbol of inclusion and equal opportunity” where anyone can “rise up based on your merit … and actually do very important things for the country.”
“Do we really want to walk the road that will cause us to abandon Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of having a colorless society? We’re starting once again to judge people by the color of their skin,” he told Tucker Carlson.
The space agency was also ripped online, with many comparing it to “critical race theory” that has sparked protests at schools across the US.
“In other words: sending marxism/ communism/ socialism to space and beyond,” someone else complained, pleading, “Stop the madness!”
Frank Wolf Connell, meanwhile, insisted that “diversity check boxes have no business in space.”
“Race, creed, color, gender shouldn’t even be a consideration we need the best and brightest in these roles … NASA shouldn’t waste it’s very limited resources to check boxes for political brownie points.”
Others accused the agency of virtue signaling. “Just do it, don’t signal it to everyone … don’t showboat,” one person tweeted in reply to the announcement.
Others teased Rice for her suggesting it was such an important mission.
“You know what China’s space agency is doing? Space stuff,” someone tweeted her.