(USA Features) The U.S. Air Force Academy has admitted that cadets are exposed to some elements of the controversial critical race theory in classroom study, the Washington Times reported Friday.
Officials with the academy spoke up after associate professor Lynne Chandler Garcia noted in an op-ed earlier this week that she instructs cadets in “critical race theories,” though last month Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the curriculum isn’t being taught in the military at all.
“As an academic institution and an accredited university, cadets are encouraged to engage in critical thinking and discourse, which may drive some classroom discussion on tenets of critical race theory,” the academy said in a statement to the paper.
“The U.S. Air Force Academy supports an instructor’s responsibility to challenge students and to do so in an environment of academic freedom,” the statement continued.
“While some elements from CRT canon are included in the course to encourage critical thinking, it is not a theory endorsed by the institution as institutional doctrine,” the academy noted further.
The course is Political Science 211, “Politics, American Government, and National Security,” the academy said.
Garcia’s op-ed was met with opposition, mostly from Republican lawmakers including Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee, a 20-year Army veteran and graduate from that service’s academy, West Point.
In calling for her removal, Green argued that her “full-throttled attack on our country and her support for Critical Race Theory render her unqualified to teach in one of our prestigious military academies.”
“If we allow this destructive ideology to be taught in our Military Service Academies, we will be responsible for this nation’s demise,” Green said Thursday.
“Professor García must be removed from her teaching position,” he added.
Also, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., whose district includes the Colorado Springs-based Air Force Academy, labeled critical race theory “an anti-American ideology rooted in Marxism,” and said Garcia’s comments were in “direct violation of the clearly expressed intent of the Secretary of Defense.”
“We do not teach critical race theory,” Austin told members of the House Armed Services Committee during a June 23 hearing. “We don’t embrace critical race theory and I think that’s a spurious conversation.”
In her op-ed, Garcia stated flatly, “I teach critical race theories to our nation’s future military leaders because it is vital that cadets understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.”
During classes, she said, “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.”
“Critical race theory provides an academic framework to understand these nuances and contradictions,” Garcia noted in her Washington Post op-ed. “It helps students identify the structural racism and inequality that has been endemic in American society.”