Democrats rejected multiple attempts by Republicans to ban the military from teaching Critical Race Theory theory when they voted down three amendments in a marathon committee hearing Wednesday on the budget to fund the Pentagon.
Conservative Reps. Jim Banks, Mark Green, and Vicky Hartzler offered their own amendments to ban the teaching, which highlights how historical inequities and racism have become ingrained in institutions and society; and, therefore, they continue to shape public policy and social conditions today.
‘This amendment says that in the military, you cannot push an ideology or teach an ideology in our academies that says that any race is superior or inferior to any other race, or that people are responsible for the actions of other members of their race,’ Banks said when he introduced his amendment.
Democrats, who hold the majority on the House Armed Services Committee, voted all three amendments down.
Republican Rep. Jim Banks introduced an amendment to ban the teaching of Critical Race Theory in military academies but Democrats voted it down
It was one of many Republican amendments that Democrats shot down during the nearly 16-hour hearing that debated the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which funds the military.
Democrats also killed an amendment from Republican Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida that would have stated Congress ‘has lost confidence in President Biden’s ability to perform his duties as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces.’
‘I believe that this president has failed,’ Waltz said.
Democrats defended the president.
‘The idea that the only things that went wrong in Afghanistan is what President Biden has done over the past six or seven months is not correct,’ House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said.
The NDAA was ultimately approved by the committee, paving the way for a $740 billion budget for the Pentagon next year.
Critical Race Theory has become a key focus on the curriculum of schools over the last year amid the nationwide reckoning for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd.
Conservatives argue that students are being taught a warped version of American history, while supporters of critical race theory say it is vital to understand how race impacts society in order to eliminate racism.
A Public Opinion Strategies poll from early June found that critical race theory is viewed negatively by voters with a 50 percent negative to 42 percent positive margin.
The amendments came up during the nearly 16-hour hearing that debated the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA; above House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith bangs hearing to a close
The House Armed Services Committee approved the National Defense Authorization Act, paving the way for a $740 billion budget for the Pentagon next year.
President Joe Biden also has expressed support for it.
In June, he signed an executive order that required all federal agencies to ramp up workplace training on ‘systemic and institutional racism’ and ‘implicit and unconscious bias.’
Though his order did not mention critical race theory by name, it did instruct agency leaders to provide greater access to training that covers many of the ideas outlined in that theory.
Biden earlier reversed a previous executive order from then President Donald Trump that banned any diversity training in the federal government that was based in critical race theory.
Critical race theory: From obscure academic concept to the front lines of America’s ‘culture wars’
Critical race theory (CRT) exploded to prominence in the spring as it started to appear in classrooms from kindergarten to Grade 12, leading to several bans including in Florida and Texas, however it has been taught in higher education for decades.
It is an offshoot of the Marxist ideology Critical Theory, of Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm, which argued that there are power structures which ‘enslave’ the minds of the oppressed in society.
CRT teaches that racism is not the result of nature or biology but that it is a social construct, an idea invented to exploit and control minorities.
It argues racism is a structural problem in the United States, particularly towards black people, embedded in its institutions, legal system and even the Constitution.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.