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Navy pushes back on GOP demands to remove ‘anti-American’ titles from ‘woke’ reading list for sailors

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Navy brass is refusing to remove a number of books from the Chief of Naval Operations recommended reading list for sailors that have been deemed “anti-American” and “woke” by several GOP lawmakers.

Included in CNO Adm. Michael Gilday’s recommendations is “How To Be An Antiracist,” “The New Jim Crow,” “Fed Up” — a book about female empowerment — and others that the Republican lawmakers believe are more about PC politics than about emboldening sailors to “outthink and outfight any adversary,” the reading program’s objectives state.

Led by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a Naval Reserve officer and Afghanistan vet, the group sent a letter to Gilday late last month arguing that books like those contained in “How To Be An Antiracist” contain views that are “explicitly anti-American,” while asking the CNO to explain its addition to the reading list or to remove it entirely.

In a March 12 response, Gilday wrote that he included the book, by Prof. Ibram X. Kendi, head of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, because “it evokes the author’s own personal journey in understanding barriers to true inclusion, the deep nuances of racism and racial inequalities.”

He noted further that he wants sailors to reach the same measure of “self-reflection.”

In a statement to Fox News, Banks said Gilday’s answer “shows that he is not serious.”

“We face an existential foreign threat, and our military is desperate for serious leadership,” Banks said.

Gilday noted further in his response letter that some of the titles he put on the list were recommendations from Task Force One Navy. He said he contacted the group last summer and asked members “to identify and remove racial barriers, improve inclusion efforts, create new opportunities for professional development and eliminate obstacles to enter the Navy.” 

“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 noted. “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.”

GOP Reps. Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Vicky Hartzler of Missouri sent a letter to the CNO last week expressing their concerns with Kendi’s book along with “The New Jim Crow” and “Sexual Minorities and Politics.” 

“All three books reinforce the view that America is a confederation of identity categories of the oppressed and their oppressors rather than a common homeland of individual citizens who are united by common purposes and fidelity to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution,” the two lawmakers wrote.

In addition, the reading list was lambasted by Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL officer.

“I can’t believe this is happening to the Navy I love: pushing overtly leftist propaganda on their OFFICIAL reading list, threatening the longstanding tradition of political neutrality,” he said. “The Chief of Naval Operations needs to correct this.”

“How to be an Antiracist” and “The New Jim Crow” were both New York Times bestsellers last year. The former has been adopted by some public schools and educators.

Several people panned the reading list on social media.

Warning: Strong language

Jon Dougherty

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