By Col. Sam Thiessen, US Army ret, USMA ’73
STARRS Vice President for Education
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) recently voted to send President Biden’s nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), General C.Q Brown, to the full Senate for confirmation.
The only reason Brown’s confirmation has not been brought to a vote is because of Senator Tommy Tuberville’s blanket hold on all votes for military officer promotions that require Senate confirmation.
While Tuberville’s hold is primarily an effort to stop the Department of Defense (DoD) from funding assistance to service members seeking abortion, it is worth noting that Brown’s views on race and gender diversity in the services are every bit as controversial as government funding of abortion assistance.
General Brown has expressed his concern for lack of representation of minorities and women in U.S. Air Force pilot ranks.
As Air Force Chief of Staff, Brown, himself a minority, has acted to remedy such perceived race and gender disparities in the ranks by implementing diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs throughout the Air Force, including establishing quotas for a set percentage of minority pilots.
Such programs have more recently included equity as a desired outcome so that DEI is now the preferred acronym. DEI is often described as the practical application of Critical Race Theory (CRT).
Not surprisingly, CRT is also closely associated with the development and efforts of Black Lives Matter (BLM). BLM has been very influential in creating DEI as a movement that has permeated our social, business, and government institutions, including the U.S. military.
General Brown’s efforts to incorporate DEI in our Air Force appear to be no less influential than those of BLM in furthering this movement.
Whether intended or not, the efforts of the DEI Movement have resulted in elevating meeting racial quotas as organizational priorities above those of individual performance and achievement.
Companies and organizations have lowered meaningful measures of workplace competence below those of “equitable” demographic representation.
At some point the reduction of competence in the workplace caused by focusing more on equity and equal outcomes than on performance will result in organizational dysfunctions.
In military organizations this can mean failure and defeat.
Widespread organizational and institutional dysfunctions already occurring throughout society have been identified and well documented by Heather Mac Donald in her latest book, When Race Trumps Merit How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives.
As such dysfunctions continue to increase in both degree and frequency it is essential that we ask ourselves how this trend can be reversed and, where needed, remedied while at the same time being fair and equitable to all, where equity is not measured by demographic outcomes but instead by ensuring equal opportunity for all.
Despite recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that were announced this year to restrict Affirmative Action quotas in admissions to universities, the DEI Movement, which evolved from decades of Affirmative Action programs, continues as many universities and other types of organizations seek ways to maintain their DEI programs despite the Court’s decision.
With the continuation of DEI comes its continuing deleterious effects on our society that Mac Donald documented in her latest book.
One particularly striking example she highlighted bears emphasizing. It involves Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, professor emeritus and former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
A broad 2022 study on the performance of medical school residents revealed that black and Hispanic students performed significantly below White and Asian students.
Keeping with scientific method protocols, researchers presented several hypotheses as to why this might be the case. But when Prof. Goldfarb presented an additional hypothesis, the reaction by academia was immediate, severe, and highly revealing.
Goldfarb merely presented the possibility by asking, in his words, “Could it be the minority students were just less good at being residents?”
In reaction, the chair of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Medicine, Michael S. Parmacek, referred to Goldfarb’s question as “racist statements” and reaffirmed that doctors must acknowledge “structural racism.”
What sort of thinking displays such close-minded bigotry, refusing to even allow an honest question to be asked that might end up being a legitimate explanation of the disparate outcomes between racial groups?
CRT was derived from just such close-minded thinking, the ideology of Marxism. And while its proponents insist that CRT is not connected to Marxism, history clearly documents that they are.
We also know from history that Marxism in the form of Communism disallows the asking of questions that run counter to its ideology, just as today’s ideology of CRT/DEI prohibits asking such questions.
These Marxist ideologies, regardless their various names, deny the right of an individual to speak freely and openly, as our Constitution recognizes.
It would be interesting to know if General Brown believes, like Dr. Parmacek, that Dr. Goldfarb’s question was racist.
It would also be interesting to know who the racists are here: The person who asks the tough questions or the person who accuses someone of racism for asking it?
Evidently, no one on the SASC thought to ask.
STARRS Board of Advisor Father Alexander Webster, PhD, retired Army Colonel Chaplain commented on this article:
Thank you, Sir, for forwarding that article by Col. Sam Thiessen.
Although I am not an alumnus of the USAFA as you and some other folks in STARRS are, I can empathize with you as you observe your alma mater sink steadily into the DEI (or DIE) abyss.
Thiessen’s article describes the plight of Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a distinguished professor emeritus and former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. It appears that merely proposing a fourth possible explanation for “underperforming” black and Hispanic residents draws the ire of the race-peddlers in the Penn med school hierarchy.
Alas, that kind of anti-intellectualism and unprofessional reverse-bigotry is no surprise to me as a Penn alumnus.
Only yesterday the latest free speech ranking of American colleges and universities by the widely-respected Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (F.I.R.E) ranked the University of Pennsylvania (“Penn” to alums) 247 out of 248 college campuses that F.I.R.E deems the “top ranked” in the nation. (See https://rankings.thefire.org/rank)
Only Harvard University (where I completed my Master of Theological Studies degree) was ranked lower (no. 248!).
Both of those Ivy League universities are a disgrace and embarrassment to their alumni, both living and dead–along with USAFA and so many other eminent institutions of higher learning increasingly taking leave of their senses.
But the plight of the military academies is worse, in my estimation, than the civilian citadels of higher learning.
Your graduates are destined for leadership roles in the vital, unique, dangerous mission of the defense of a nation of some 330 million citizens.
Only the best and most qualified human beings of each graduating high school class–irrespective of irrelevancies such as race, ethnicity, family income, or other arbitrary or political criteria–ought to be admitted and persevere until graduation four years later.
That makes the role of STARRS in fighting and overturning this unhappy trend that much more important.