Despite objections from Republican lawmakers, the U.S. Navy has reportedly decided against removing a controversial book from its approved reading list.
What are the details?
The Navy came under fire earlier this year upon revelations that some of the books included in its 2021 Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program had nothing to do with military history or strategy, but instead educated readers on cultural topics such as anti-racism and gender identity.
One book in particular, titled “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, drew intense scrutiny for its characterization of America as a fundamentally racist country.
In a letter sent to Navy Admiral Michael Gilday requesting the removal of the book, Republican Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.), a Naval Reserve officer and ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, branded the book as “explicitly anti-American” and not fit to be included on the list.
But according to Fox News, Gilday is not budging. In a response letter sent from Gilday to Banks obtained by the news organization, the admiral said he included the book because “it evokes the author’s own personal journey in understanding barriers to true inclusion, the deep nuances of racism and racial inequalities,” and added he would like to see Navy sailors achieve the same level of “self-reflection.”
“While I do not endorse every viewpoint of the books on this reading list, I believe exposure to varied ideas improves the critical thinking skills of our sailors,” Gilday continued. “My commitment to them is to continue to listen, make sure their voice is heard, and make the Navy a shining example of an organization centered on respect, inclusive of all.”
Banks responded by telling Fox News in a statement that that Gilday’s letter “shows he is not serious.”
He added: “We face an existential foreign threat, and our military is desperate for serious leadership.”
Gilday reportedly mentioned in the letter that some of the books included on the list were recommendations from Task Force One Navy, a new progressive agency established within the military branch to “address the issues of racism, sexism and other destructive biases and their impact on naval readiness.”
The admiral clarified that he contacted the agency over the summer “to identify and remove racial barriers, improve inclusion efforts, create new opportunities for professional development and eliminate obstacles to enter the Navy.”
The Task Force made headlines recently after it released a report which included a pledge for sailors that sounded like it was produced by a woke college diversity officer rather than the U.S. military.