Rep. Jim Banks’s (R-Ind.) on Wednesday introduced an amendment to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act to ban the teaching of the quasi-Marxist critical race theory (CRT) or any related theories in the military.
“Today, I will be offering an amendment in the House Armed Services Committee to ban racist Critical Race Theory teachings in our military,” the Republican lawmaker, a vocal critic of CRT, announced on Twitter.
CRT advocates for critiquing social problems through the lens of racial struggle, and argues that racism is inherent in the foundational values of Western societies. As such, it seeks to fundamentally transform social institutions so as to end racial oppression.
Conservatives have expressed increasing concern that the U.S. military is becoming “woke” as it incorporates CRT in its training and education. They argue that promoting CRT weakens the armed forces’ ability to support and defend the U.S. Constitution.
Critics of CRT say its proponents apply the Marxist tactic of “class struggle” to race, dividing people along race, gender, and ethnic lines to label them “oppressors” and “oppressed,” which further divides society.
“Critical Race Theory is a dangerous and radical ideology that has no place in the U.S. military,” Study Committee Chairman Banks said in a statement. “I don’t know how anyone can justify teaching men and women, who are being asked to serve and protect our country and potentially pay the ultimate sacrifice, that America is a fundamentally evil or racist country.”
Among the amendment’s cosponsors so far are Reps. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Jerry Carl (R-Ala.), Pat Fallon (R-Texas), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), and Rob Wittman (R-Va.).
In a heated discussion, Gaetz called CRT “a poison.”
“It otherizes our fellow Americans,” Gaetz said. “It is not what we need in our military, in our schools, in our lives or anywhere in a great nation.”
“Every single one of us in this room know that this is the greatest country in the history of this world,” Banks added. “Are we perfect? No. Is our history perfect? Of course not. But there’s nothing that comes close to what we have in America. And it is not sustainable to tell our troops anything otherwise. In fact, it’s dangerous.”
Some Democrats have pushed back against the amendment, arguing that CRT addresses the racism in American history.
“[B]y being honest about our past, we can actually teach the hard truths about our country,” Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) said.
Terri Wu contributed to this report.