Senator Tom Cotton said Thursday that the US military’s incorporation of critical concepts of racial theory into its training would weaken the bond between soldiers who rely on each other for their lives.
“If it hurts the cohesion of the unit or the esprit de corps in the military, we are literally risking our freedoms,” the Republican of Arkansas said in an online forum sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
He said teaching the academic theory that would divide would distract members of the military from what should be its primary focus.
The military “should focus on real wars,” he said. “Not the culture wars.”
Mr Cotton said the military should not allow racism in its ranks. But he said it should do so in a less confrontational way than through critical race theory.
“Why can’t we re-enact the ‘character content and not the color of our skin discourse’ of Martin Luther King Jr. ‘,” he said.
Mr. Cotton, a decorated US military veteran for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq, sharply criticized the federal government for teaching theory.
Critical Race Theory focuses on the idea that while whites are not necessarily racist, some aspects of the nation’s laws and institutions still work against people of color. He claims that whites are privileged because they benefit from what is called systemic racism.
Mr Cotton introduced a law prohibiting federal education funds from going to schools that use the New York Times’ Project 1619. The initiative drew fire for its emphasis on the importance of slavery in the nation’s history and for falsely claiming that the nation fought for independence out of fear that Britain would end to slavery in the colonies.
But while the teaching of theory in schools has sparked controversy across the country, Mr. Cotton said the potential for harm from adopting critical race theory is particularly severe in the military. .
Mr. Cotton and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican and former Navy SEAL, have in recent months attempted to draw public attention to the “awakened” culture seeping into military training, particularly under the Biden administration, collecting and publicizing anonymous complaints from the military.
Mr Cotton, for example, told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month that a sailor told him that training in military history had been replaced by lessons in police brutality, the white privilege and systemic racism. He reported that several officers are now leaving his unit, citing this training.
Mr Cotton said another member of the service reported that his unit was required to read “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, who claims that “Whites brought up in Western society are conditioned by a white supremacist worldview. “.
White supremacy in the context of critical race theory, however, refers to the idea that whites have enjoyed advantages because of their race, as opposed to the beliefs of white supremacist groups.