Critical Race Theory—which posits that current racial inequalities often presented as happenstance are inextricably linked to centuries of overt racist violence and subjugation—is the subject of the Republican party's latest moral panic.
At both state and federal levels, the Republican party has sensationalized the theory, falsely claiming that it's being used to teach children to hate white people. Republican governors like Greg Abbott of Texas have sought to ban it being taught in public schools, though there's little evidence it's taught below the college level in the first place. Congressional Republicans have railed against the theory, though few of them can explain what it actually is.
Nevertheless, in a Congressional hearing regarding the 2022 Defense Budget, Defense Department officials were inevitably asked by Republicans if Critical Race Theory is being taught in military schools, and what their stance on the theory was.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin chastised disgraced Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida for one "spurious" claim he made about the Department's views on the theory.
Later in the hearing, Joint Defense Chiefs of Staff Chairman—General Mark Milley—offered his own insights into the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
Watch why his comments went viral below.
He invoked the Capitol Riots of January 6 in part of his answer:
"I do think it's important actually for those of us in uniform to be open minded and be widely read. And the United States Military academy is a university. And it is important that we train and we understand and I want to understand white rage, and I'm white. And I want to understand it. So what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that?"
"So it is important that the leaders, now and in the future, do understand it. I've read Mao Tse Tung. I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about what the country for which we are here to defend?
And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commission, non-commission officers of being 'woke' or something else because we're studying some theories that are out there."
Gaetz was left shaking his head.
People praised Milley's answer across the internet.
Nevertheless, conservatives were in a tizzy.
The conservative cries of against a so-called woke military continue.