(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced it received 167 pages of records from the U.S. Department of Defense which show the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) has made race and gender instruction a top priority in the training of cadets.
The records include recommendations that the USAFA considers “Behavioral Science 362, ‘Class, Race, Gender, and Sexuality’ as a core class,” that all curriculum be reviewed for “D&I” (diversity and inclusion) topics, and that all cadets and staff be educated in “specific D&I concepts and skills in order to decrease incidents of microaggressions, unconscious bias, etc.”
Judicial Watch obtained the records in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services, Inc. (STARRS) against the U.S. Department of Defense for Air Force Academy records regarding “systemic racism,” as well as records of critical race theory at the Academy (Stand Together Against Racism and Radicalism in the Services, Inc. v U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:22-cv–02894)).
In the introduction to the September 21, 2020, “U.S. Air Force Academy Internal Racial Disparity Review,” Superintendent Lt. General Jay Silveria writes:
Systemic racism exists in our society. Identity groups, whether based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability, have all experienced less-than-equal treatment in our nation, both historically and persisting in the present day. Ongoing events across our nation and around the world are a stark reminder that racism and social injustice continue to afflict our society. We must acknowledge that at USAFA we are not immune to these issues. What happens outside our gates also happens across our installation, and throughout the Cadet Wing. We would be naive to think otherwise, and negligent to ignore the impact of racism and injustice on our cadets, our permanent party and their families and our entire USAFA community.
Our military superiority relies on an incredibly diverse force of innovative individuals who must work cohesively as a team. There is no place in our words or actions for discrimination or racial bias of any kind, nor can we allow these behaviors to persist in the culture of our institution. A disregard for dignity and respect is corrosive to mission success, and will not be tolerated. To address these issues we must each, and as a cohesive team, look inward to continually examine ourselves and our institution for the prevalence of racism, discrimination, and injustice.
To that end, I directed what I hope will be an enduring, lasting effort to promote racialunderstanding and diversity in the context of leadership. These actions included the establishment of a Critical Conversations Working Group (CCWG), led by the Center for Character Development (CCLD), to facilitate recurring USAFA-wide critical conversations for cadets and permanent party. In addition, my Director of Staff and the Director of Equal Opportunity co-chaired an internal assessment and review for biases within our policies, processes, practices, curriculum, and artifacts. The objective of the assessment was to identify racial disparities unique to USAFA.
Under a heading “Limitations” in the “Purpose and Context” section the review states:
We must continually work to build future leaders and reinforce the principles that underpin our “Leader of Character” framework- living honorably, lifting others, and elevating performance- in the context of equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and respect for others. As an institution that develops officers to lead a diverse force, USAFA must instill these principles in those we teach and lead. These young men and women will ultimately shape the future culture of our military, and in turn influence the larger American society. As such, there is no place in our words and actions for discrimination or racial bias of any kind at USAFA, or in our Air and Space Forces.
Within the section titled “Diversity and Inclusion at USAFA [U.S. Air Force Academy],” under the heading “Additional Data Sources,” the review cites a 2020 Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey of cadets in the Class of 2024:
The survey collected information on student’s opinions on racial understanding, racial discrimination, preferential treatment (based on race/ethnicity), and other D&I (diversity & inclusion) related topics. Cursory analysis of the CL24 responses indicates:
- 16% of our incoming cadets find that helping to promote racial understanding is not important ( 17% of Caucasian cadets, 15% of Minority cadets). The remainder of the cadets responded that it was somewhat important (38%), very important (28%), or essential ( 18 %).
- 24% of our incoming cadets agreed that racial discrimination is no longer a major problem in America. The remainder of the cadets disagreed with that statement.
- 75% of our incoming cadets rated themselves as average or above average when comparing themselves to the average person their own age in terms of their understanding of others.
- One question asked whether the student agrees/disagrees whether individuals from disadvantaged social backgrounds should be given preferential treatment in college admissions. 65% of the Caucasian and 45% of the Minority cadets disagreed while 35% of the Caucasian and 55% of the Minority cadets agreed with that statement.
Later in that section, under the heading “Equal Opportunity (USAF/EO,” the Air Force Academy’s Equal Opportunity office recommends the Academy:
Consider implementing Behavioral Science 362, ‘Class, Race, Gender, and Sexuality’ as a core class or pulling the content into shorter transition-week training opportunities spread across a cadet’s USAFA career. The material is highly regarded by cadets and graduates, and the information could be implemented on a larger scale (to include training for basics and sessions for each year group) to help cadets mature into D&I professionals for the Air Force.
In the section titled “The Way Forward,” the review introduces a “Triple Threat Group,” which was established in June 2020 “after national conversations surrounding police brutality, release of news articles addressing racial disparities in the AF discipline system, and the height of racial tension.” The review continues: “Triple Threat’s ongoing efforts align theory and considerations on how USAFA could address racial tension and unrest using a 3-tiered, ‘triple threat’ approach of Acknowledgment, Action, and Advocacy. In clarifying the need to address this issue, as well as to demonstrate the importance of these efforts, Triple Threat solicited shared stories from current cadets and graduates from the past year that captured realities and perceptions that bring awareness to the ‘Black experience” at USAFA [U.S. Air Force Academy].”
Also in that section of the review is a heading titled “Recommendations” that includes:
- Ensure Diversity and Inclusion is incorporated into USAFA [U.S. Air Force Academy] guidance and policy. [Academy’s] Diversity and Inclusion plan must be updated as a strategic document guiding D&I [diversity and inclusion] efforts across the institution.
- Expand the DF-led [dean of faculty] curriculum review to ensure all [Academy] curriculum, as identified under the Course of Instruction, is reviewed for D&I [diversity and inclusion]topics.
- Educate and train cadets and staff on more specific D&I [diversity and inclusion] concepts and skills in order to decrease incidents of microaggressions, unconscious bias, etc., and enhance retention/inclusion. In addition, we must train our leaders across the institution on how to facilitate critical conversations on racial issues within their workplaces, so all Airmen can bring their full selves to work and leaders can create more inclusive spaces. Correlated to this effort is the need to develop a more robust racial bias incident reporting system with associated accountability and rehabilitation processes to restore relationships in the event biases or microaggressions are experienced.
In the “Triple Threat Proposal,” appendix, the review calls for “Cultural Immersion Movie Nights:”
Cultural Immersion Movie Nights is an initiative we propose to be held at Arnold Hall throughout the academic semesters. This initiative will allow cadets and permanent party to learn about racism, racial discrimination and the several historical events and policies that have impacted minorities through cinema. The goal is to help inform all members at this institution of the cultural history of other races and thus bring greater unity and understanding of other groups within the Cadet Wing.
The recently obtained documents also include an August 17, 2021, email, in which the sender and recipients are redacted, that discusses required textbook readings on “prejudice and discrimination,” which includes:
Identify examples of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination.
Describe how explicit and implicit prejudice differ.
Describe some of the social, emotional, and cognitive roots of prejudice.
The email goes on to state that Academy cadets were “asked to watch a video of the well-known ‘Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes’ demonstration.”
According to STARRS President and CEO Dr. Ronald J. Scott, Jr., Colonel, USAF, Retired, USAFA ’73: “Diversity, equity, and inclusion training stems from Marxist-inspired ideology known as critical race theory. While attractive to those who believe in justice and equal opportunity, it empowers those who hold positions of authority or influence to coerce others into compliance. This phenomenon is what C.S. Lewis wrote about when he grouped people into ‘the conditioners’ and ‘the conditioned’ in his 1940s book ‘The Abolition of Man.’”
“These documents show our military and its rising leadership are under attack from within. The documents confirm U.S. Air Force Academy leadership is obsessed with anti-American critical race theory and seeks to punish and smear cadets through leftist indoctrination programs,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch lawsuits and FOIA requests on critical race theory and other leftist extremism are extensive:
In November 2022, Judicial Watch separately sued the Air Force Academy for training material records on critical race theory.
In July 2022, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Defense for records related to the United States Naval Academy (USNA) implementing critical race theory (CRT) in the training of naval recruits
In August, Judicial Watch’s client David Flynn, who was removed from his position as head football coach after exercising his right as a parent-citizen to raise concerns about critical race theory and Black Lives Matter propaganda in his daughter’s seventh-grade history class, settled his civil rights lawsuit against his former employers at Dedham Public Schools. As part of the settlement, the Superintendent of Dedham Public Schools, Michael Welch, acknowledged “the important and valid issues” raised by Flynn and specific changes in school policies because of Flynn’s complaint, including banning teachers from promoting Black Lives Matter to students online.
Also in August, Judicial Watch sued on behalf of a Minneapolis taxpayer over a teachers’ contract that provides discriminatory job protections to certain racial minorities. The lawsuit was filed against the superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Minneapolis Board of Education for violating the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Minnesota Constitution.
In June, Judicial Watch received records revealing critical race theory instruction at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. One training slide contains a graphic titled “MODERN-DAY SLAVERY IN THE USA.” [Emphasis in original]
Records produced in April 2022 from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) show the government agency responsible for regulating credit unions required “inclusion and unconscious bias training” for the agency’s employees and contractors and offered advice on how to recognize and address alleged “microaggressions” in the workplace.
Records produced in February 2022 from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) included a PowerPoint presentation titled “Race and gender based microaggressions” that was used for training at the organization.
Two sets of records obtained by Judicial Watch in November 2021 related to the teaching of critical race theory in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Maryland’s largest school system, included a training course with information about a book titled “Antiracist Baby” that introduces the youngest readers to “the concept and power of antiracism,” and says it’s the “perfect gift” for “ages baby to age 3.”
Records from Loudoun County, VA, obtained in October 2021 revealed a coordinated effort to advance critical race theory initiatives in Loudoun County public schools despite widespread public opposition.
A training document provided to Judicial Watch in October 2021 by a whistleblower in the Westerly School District of Rhode Island, details how its schools are using teachers to push critical race theory in classrooms. The training course was assembled by the left-leaning Highlander Institute and cites quotes from Bettina Love, from whom the Biden administration distanced itself publicly after her statements equating “whiteness” to oppression.
Records produced in June 2021 by Wellesley Public Schools in Massachusetts confirmed the use of “affinity spaces” that divide students and staff based on race as a priority and objective of the school district’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” plan. The school district also admitted that between September 1, 2020, and May 17, 2021, it created “five distinct” segregated spaces.
Heavily redacted records obtained by Judicial watch in May 2021from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland included documents related to their $454,000 “Anti-racist system audit” and critical race theory classes. Students were taught that the phrase “Make America Great Again” was an example of “covert white supremacy.”