UPDATE: After this blog posted, the Air Force Academy’s Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark send the Indy this statement:
“The Air Force Academy does not prohibit the use of ‘mom and dad’ or other gender specific terms. The recent briefing on diversity and inclusion is being taken out of context and misrepresented; the slide in question was not intended to stand alone.
“First and foremost, the briefing centered on respect for others and the warfighting imperative of leveraging diverse perspectives to solve our nation’s most difficult national security problems. Our strategic competitors are doing the opposite. Our American diversity is a strategic advantage and opens the door to creative solutions, providing a competitive edge in air, space, and cyberspace.
“The slide on ‘inclusive language’ was intended to demonstrate how respect for others should be used to build inclusive teams, producing more effective warfighting units. Understanding a person’s context shows respect. Until you know a person’s situation, we should not make assumptions about them.”
Congressman Doug Lamborn, (R-CD5), is on the warpath against diversity and “wokeism.”
On Sept. 20, he sent a letter to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark Congressman “expressing his concerns regarding the increasing politicization of the education provided to cadets attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.”
“I understand that in a Diversity and Inclusion briefing that all USAFA cadets received at the beginning of this school year, cadets were instructed to tell each other personal, confidential details about themselves and share their ‘pronouns,’ with briefers being instructed to encourage vulnerability ‘for best effect’,” he wrote. “Presumably the motivation behind these required briefings is to introduce the Academy’s new minor in Diversity and Inclusion. It will cause some to question whether they even want to enter into a military that puts wokeism on par with traditional military training.”
Further chastising Clark, Lamborn wrote, “The purpose of your institution is to make our future Airmen and Guardians more lethal, not more politically correct. This is exactly the kind of woke virtue signaling that has undermined public confidence by millions of Americans in our Armed Forces. Military effectiveness depends on cohesion – not division. I ask that you seriously reconsider the military education you are conferring onto our future servicemembers, and vigilantly protect those under your watch from being subjected to exaggerated diversity indoctrination and woke political agendas.”
Of course, the Academy doesn’t see it that way, and points to this article regarding accolades for its diversity instruction.
“As part of the Diversity & Inclusion Cadet Leadership Program, this conversation was developed by cadet leaders and USAFA staff to introduce all cadets to Department of the Air Force definitions of diversity and inclusion, as well as how these concepts enhance our warfighting effectiveness. USAFA develops leaders of character that can lead diverse teams of Airmen and Guardians inclusively, to enhance innovation and win future conflict,” an Academy spokesman tells the Indy in an email.
“It is the diversity of Airmen and Guardians coming from all corners of our nation who perform the Department of the Air Force’s hundreds of critical mission sets that make us the best, most innovative Air and Space Forces the world has ever known.”
The Academy also pointed to its creation of a diversity and inclusion minor, which includes this: “Defense Department diversity programs support mission readiness. You don’t have to choose one over the other,” said the Academy’s diversity, equity and inclusion offer, Joseph Looney, a retired colonel and Academy graduate with a doctorate in counseling psychology. “Diversity programs enhance the critical and creative thinking we need to be mission ready and tackle challenges in today’s war fighting environment.”
Find requirements for that minor degree here.
Here’s another program regarding diversity recently adopted at the Academy.
In addition, Lamborn and 20 other Congress members complained to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in another letter about statements about racism that Lamborn termed “divisive” made by Kelisa Wing, the Department of Defense Education Activity’s chief of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In a release, Lamborn cited a Fox News article that reported on a June 2020 tweet by Wing stating: “I’m exhausted with these white folx in these [professional development] sessions this lady had the CAUdacity [Caucasian audacity] to say black people can be racist too.”
The release also noted that Wing helped write children’s books on Black Lives Matter, white privilege and defunding the police. In What is White Privilege?, she includes lines such as: “If you are White you might feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege.”
“Subjecting our brave men and women in uniform to these false narratives will lead to division and undermine morale,” Lamborn said. “These comments further clarify that the Biden Administration cares more about appeasing extremists in their party than strengthening the readiness and overall well-being of our servicemembers…. I will continue working to restore our military, strengthen national security, and fight for those who fight for our freedoms.”
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) provides K-12 education for the military community in the U.S. and across the globe, the release noted. Other congress members who signed on to the letter are all Republicans.