By Scott Sturman, MD, USAFA ’72
STARRS Board of Advisors
At the age of thirty-five Dr. Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize, making him the youngest recipient in its history. Over a thousand streets around the world are named for him, and he is acknowledged by one poll as the sixth most famous person in history.
But King’s message of forgiveness, non-violence, reconciliation, and self-worth based on character rather than phenotype are under assault by the proponents of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and identity politics.
Recently on Martin Luther King Day, politicians and the media grandstanded and payed homage to Dr. King, all the while, during the other 364 days of the year, undermining his legacy and promoting the divisive tripe of Ibram Kendi and Kimberly Crenshaw, who preach division, victimhood, and irreconcilable racial oppression. Kendi has made a career out of one word, “anti-racism,” for which he alone controls the definition.
In academic circles this guaranteed his unassailable academic credentials and prompted a host of influential leaders, including the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday, to add Kendi’s book, How to Be an Antiracist, to the Navy’s Professional Reading Program.
Kendi, who proclaimed, “Assimilation ideas are racist ideas,” understands the power of language and the need to control every nuance of every word’s meaning. His philosophic mentor and one of the founders of Critical Race Theory, Richard Delgado, devotes the last third of the book, Critical Race Theory, to the approved definitions of words and phrases. Words are weapons deployed against philosophical adversaries to deny them the ability to effectively communicate.
The Department of Defense abandoned Dr. King’s dream, when it imposed a culture imbued with mistrust and unyielding individualism based on racial and sexual identity.
The vilification of the term “colorblind” serves as a metaphor for this radical departure from cohesiveness and mutual trust that is essential for mission readiness. The source of this illogical realignment of priorities emanates from CRT. Delgado speaks of the perversity of colorblindness and Kendi avers that colorblindness equates with racism.
All of the United States military academies have come under scrutiny for eschewing their traditional role to painstakingly avoid political involvement by implementing intensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and teaching CRT as legitimate political alternative rather than extension of Critical Theory and post modernism.
Recently, Lt. General Richard Clark, the Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) participated in a three part interview, where he addressed the controversial emphasis of DEI at USAFA and the publicity surrounding a preferred language tutorial that instructed cadets how to speak in accordance with DEI recommendations.
General Clark framed DEI as merely a tool to facilitate communication in an ever changing world. His portrayal of the program rests in sharp contrast with the Academy’s DEI Plan that was established under Executive Order 13583 that impacts virtually every aspect of the USAFA training environment and has led some to conclude that DEI is a Trojan Horse for quotas and the inculcation of CRT into the heart of USAFA’s academic program.
General Clark categorically supports DEI. Without citing specific evidence he alluded to numerous studies, most of which were conducted in the financial services industry that reported improved profitability due to inputs based on demographic diversity. It has yet to be proven whether this conclusion applies to a military environment, but this contention remained unchallenged.
As with all all three parts of the interview, the interviewer’s role appeared to be the delivery of softball questions and readily agreeing with the general’s perspective.
In no portion of the interviews did General Clark acknowledge Dr. King’s contributions to the military’s longstanding policy of nondiscrimination, nor did he distance himself from the detrimental influence of Kendi and his allies whose misplaced activism have destroyed decades of progress in racial relations.
Rather, he reminded listeners that times are changing and implied that DEI, an offshoot of theories promulgated by frustrated Marxists from the Frankfurt School, serves as the key to teaching a new generation of officers.
DEI, CRT, and the slew of accompanying critical theories are the products of fervent anti-capitalists academics who have gained a foothold into the fabric of American life. The utility of these doctrines are unproven and incongruent with a free, prosperous society. Rather than build on Dr. King’s legacy, they distort it and use his reputation as a vehicle to delude and divide the public.
If color blindness does not represent fairness and the anecdote to discrimination, then what’s the reason for celebrating Martin Luther King Day?