Politics & Policy

Cotton Introduces Bill to Ban ‘Critical Race Theory’ Teaching in Military

Sen. Tom Cotton speaks with reporters in Washington, D.C., in 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would ban the teaching of “critical race theory” in the military.

The bill would ban the military and Department of Defense from promoting positions such as that the U.S. is a fundamentally racist country, that the Constitution or Declaration of Independence are racist, or that an individual can be “inherently” racist by virtue of his or her own race or ethnicity.

“Our military’s strength depends on the unity of our troops and the knowledge that America is a noble nation worth fighting for. Critical Race Theory teaches that race is a person’s most important characteristic, and that America is an evil, oppressive place,” Cotton said in a statement. “Not only will such racist ideas undermine our troops’ faith in each other, they’ll also erode their trust in our country’s guiding principles.”

Cotton introduced his bill after the U.S. Navy released its updated reading list, meant to “extend their personal and professional development,” with the inclusion of How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. The Navy’s Second Fleet has also created its own book club to discuss White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.

“The views promoted in ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ are explicitly anti-American. According to Kendi, the author, America is fundamentally racist, so anti-Americanism is a moral imperative,” Representative Jim Banks (R., Ind.) wrote in a letter to Navy chief Admiral Michael Gilday following publication of the reading list. “Kendi’s ideas are divisive and will undermine morale and weaken our national security.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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