Military in Motion: The U.S. Navy Adds Antiracist Books to Its Official Reading List

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The military continues its transformation.

Not long ago, America’s armed services were thought of as home to the hardened — veterans (affectionately?) spoke of their tough-as-nails drill sergeants, and a common comment on troubled teens was, “The Army will straighten them out.”

But these days, the jagged edges of the four branches look to be getting sanded.

At the same time, America’s racial virtue has been reversed — whereas colorblindness was once reckoned as righteous, Americans are now being educated on the wrong of not noticing race:

So goes “antiracism,” which decries the error of “I don’t care if you’re white black, yellow, green, or purple.”

And now, contemporary morality meets a more socially-conscious Armed Forces.

As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, the U.S. Navy’s enhanced its official reading list with books on antiracism.

Also amid the augmentation: works on gender.

Four of the 16 books listed under a section dedicated to personal and leadership development discuss topics such as anti-racism, the criminal justice system, and gender politics. Their titles include Ibram X. Kendi’s bestselling How to Be an Antiracist, The New Jim Crow, Sexual Minorities and Politics, and Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward. Kendi’s book in particular has garnered significant controversy, with many of its ideas spreading from college campuses to public health institutions and public sector unions.

As noted by the Free Beacon, the other 33 listed books concern naval planning and history.

Former Officer Brent Sadler’s not a fan of the addition.

The Heritage Foundation’s senior fellow for naval warfare believes it could make the maritime service branch worse:

“These reading lists should be making our sailors and officers better sailors and officers on ships at sea, ready to be effective in combat but also in great power competition. As I look through this, it’s hard for me to get my head wrapped around that you come out the other end of it a more informed sailor, likely to be a better leader on a Navy ship. [The reading list] suffers a real intellectual dishonesty.”

Meanwhile, Brent observes the (nonmandatory) list lacks a study of the Constitution.

The Beacon points out that the Navy’s “Task Force 1” wrapped up its recent diversity study by “stating the primary goal of the armed service is to protect and defend the Constitution.”

For Sadler, a list that does not include lessons about the Constitution makes that goal more difficult to achieve.

The Navy’s not the only area of service seeking social superiority.

As I wrote in early February, the Army’s now allowing the following:

  • Optional wear of earrings
  • Optional wear of lipstick
  • Optional wear of nail colors for women
  • Optional wear of clear nail polish for men

And according to U.S. Army Public Affairs:

In an effort to stop hair damage and loss stemming from hairstyles like the bun, the Army approved healthier hairstyle options that are more inclusive of various natural styles.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce; will antiracism prove a means to that end?

Here’s more on the cultural colossus via CNN:

Some white people know that to become anti-racist, they must start to listen and brush up on the history of racism in their countries.

Some people are describing obviously racist behavior as the tip of the iceberg — calling people racist names or threatening people on the basis of race.

Then there’s the part of the iceberg that’s not easily visible to people if they’re not looking. This includes a range of subtle but insidious attitudes, behaviors and policies.

Among these are microaggressions. They are brief and commonplace verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, [psychologist Beverly Tatum] said.

Microaggressions can be intentional, unintentional or even well-meaning, but they communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial assumptions to the receiver. And they have an insidious effect on a black person’s psyche and continuing racist assumptions.

Those who serve, serve closely.

In the U.S. Navy, antiracism’s being added — presumably — to put unity in ship-shape.

-ALEX

 

See more pieces from me:

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Hasbro Announces Its New Gender-Neutral Mr. Potato Head

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