Thursday, October 07, 2021

Diversity Thursday

If you think Critical Race Theory in high schools is of questionable utility, then you will love what has come to the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen.

With the CNO endorsing one of the most high-profile race essentialists, Kendi, to the Navy at large there are no guardrails to the most divisive, and in many ways racist ideas from being brought into all levels of our Navy.

You can call it “racial essentialism,” CRT, or just plain racism … but what we’ve tried to warn everyone about for over a decade and a half is here with bells on.

There is bad news, and there is good news.

First, the bad news; do you know who Claudia Rankine is? Neither did I until a little birdie dropped this jewel in my lap.

Before we go further, I want to have this bouncing around your head while we go into the details. A response we often see in such circumstances is that this is simply part of exposing people to “new ideas and perspectives.” That this is part of expanding the conversation and to challenge them with different view, etc … you know the drill.

Well, if the views of the author below are inside the Overton Window for discussions and the academic goal is to broaden the minds of MIDN on such issues … then when is USNA going to invite someone with an opposing view, and who would that be on the other side of the Overton Window? Who is defining the Overton Window? 

Something to ponder … so go get a pillow to put on your desk where you will be pounding your head shortly and … 


poet Claudia Rankine—author of 2014's award-winning Citizen, a meditation on everyday racism—received a MacArthur Fellowship and announced her plans for the $625,000 stipend: helping establish the Racial Imaginary Institute, a New York City space for art exhibits, lectures, and films that will investigate whiteness. 

Of course.

O: Does the term whiteness make white people defensive?

CR: They'll anxiously insist, "I'm not racist." Well, yes, you are. We all have biases—only I don't have power behind mine. If we can understand that racism is an active force, we can figure out how we got here. Think about sexism. Until some men could admit that it existed, men and women couldn't have a dialogue about it.

O: So white people need to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

CR: Yes. 

Do you need to read more? You can read more at the link above if you so desire – or read her books or other writings. We have her book Just Us where, 

…Claudia Rankine invites us into a necessary conversation about Whiteness in America.  

or Citizen where she,

… recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. 

or Don’t Let me be Lonely where Midshipmen can ponder, 

I forget things too. It makes me sad. Or it makes

me the saddest. The sadness is not really about

George W. or our American optimism; the

sadness lives in the recognition that a life can

not matter.

 or the unifying “play” titled, of course, White Card,

…a play which illustrates how White people play “The White Card”. By so doing, she beautifully illustrates how Whites turn Blacks into “things” or “objects”, denying their real humanity. 

We could do more – but for the purposes of a blog I think we have enough to run with.

Yes, Claudia has some issues, and it appears the leaders at the USNA want MIDN to hear them.

Though not widely advertised outside the walls of Annapolis, it appears that Ms. Rankin was invited.

Once that joyful session was over, the conversation left the walls of Annapolis and in to the public space via social media where the birdie sent it to me.

I think this MIDN did a nice job thanking everyone.

However … it appears that “not the greatest” was carrying a lot of weight.

Now the good news. Let the unity begin!

There is a clear disconnect between the faculty – uniformed and civilian – at USNA and the MIDN.

I ask this simple question; after this visit, was there more unity or less? Was there a more cohesive body of MIDN, or less? Did it produce good order or bad? More sectarianism, or less?

Last month over on twitter, I put out a little note about what is going on at many of our war colleges. You can say the same thing about our service academies as well.

Will anyone ask the hard question who invited Rankine and why? What was their goal? Did they achieve their goal? Who will come to offer a different perspective?

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