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Cotton Bill Would Ban Critical Race Theory Training in Armed Forces

Senator says far-left theory is 'anti-American'

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) / Getty Images
• March 25, 2021 12:56 pm

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) introduced a bill Thursday that would ban "anti-American" critical race theory training within the Department of Defense.

Cotton's bill aims to prohibit the U.S. military from promoting the far-left racial theory, which says the United States is inherently racist, to members of the armed forces.  The senator said so-called antiracist seminars and diversity consultants push ideas that "demoralize and divide" servicemembers and have "no place" in the military.

"Our military's strength depends on the unity of our troops and the knowledge that America is a noble nation worth fighting for," Cotton said. "Critical race theory teaches that race is a person's most important characteristic and that America is an evil, oppressive place. That idea may be fashionable in left-wing circles and college classrooms, but it has no place in our military." 

The legislation comes as the military develops antiracist programs for members of the armed forces. In February, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the Navy's sailor reading list included multiple books on racial and gender politics, which argue racism and discrimination are intrinsic to American society. Former Navy officers said the inclusion of such books sent a concerning message to sailors as the United States confronts China's growing military threat.

Last year, former president Donald Trump banned critical race theory training sessions from all federal agencies. President Joe Biden rescinded Trump's executive order on Inauguration Day.

Cotton, an Iraq war veteran, said the military's tradition of racial progress and integration will be undermined by such training.

"Not only will such racist ideas undermine our troops' faith in each other, [but] they'll also erode their trust in our country's guiding principles," Cotton said. "The United States military shouldn't be promoting such divisive, un-American ideas."