Mark Green is a vocal critic of ‘cancel culture’ — except when it comes to people he disagrees with
A Republican congressman who has branded the so-called “cancel culture” a “sickness” and compared it to communist China is now calling for a professor to be fired for teaching things he doesn’t like: namely, critical race theory.
Mark Green, a Republican representative from Tennessee and Army veteran, called for the US Air Force Academy to fire a political science professor who teaches critical race theory (CRT) in her classes, the latest in a growing nationwide push from Republicans to attack the academic discipline as dangerous even though virtually all of them either distort or misunderstand its teachings.
In a letter to the acting Air Force Secretary on Wednesday, Mr Green said that professor Lynne Chander García’s use of CRT in her classroom at the service academy is a “full-throated attack on our country” that undermines faith in US ideals laid out in the Constitution and disrespects soldiers.
“To suggest that these causes and wars were birthed out of racism disrespects those who died fighting against the Nazis in Europe, communists in Asia, or terrorists in the Middle East,” the letter reads. “If we allow this destructive ideology to be taught in our Military Service Academies, we will be responsible for this nation’s demise,” he adds.
Ms García defended teaching future military officers critical race theory, an academic discipline that explores the influence of racism on US institutions, arguing in a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday it gives them a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of US history, which highlights not just its triumphs but its contradictions and long history of mistreating non-white people.
“The reality of the Constitution is that it upholds the rule of law and human rights, but once also allowed slavery and has been used to perpetuate legal discrimination,” she writes in the opinion piece. “As Frederick Douglass pointed out, although the Declaration of Independence and Constitution espoused liberty and justice, enslaved people had no part of those virtues and no reason to celebrate a day like the Fourth of July. Thurgood Marshall suggested a ‘sensitive understanding of the Constitution’s inherent defects and its promising evolution.’”
Mr Green, like many on the right, has previously complained that the left is growing more intolerant and fostering a “cancel culture,” where public figures are punished for sharing unpopular views.
“It’s easy to look at China’s repressive regime and think that it could never happen here,” he wrote in an opinion piece on Fox News in February. “Yet after hearing demands from the far left to silence conservative voices, and after watching big tech and big business band together to deplatform conservatives, I’m beginning to think America could be like a frog boiling slowly in a pot.”
In May, the congressman compared cancel culture to a “sickness.”
The Air Force professor is the latest official in the military sphere to defend teaching service members about racism, after Mark Milley, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended CRT in a congressional testimony in June that went viral, arguing that it would help leaders understand incidents like the 6 January Capitol riot.
“I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it,” he said. “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? I want to find that out.”
Critical race theory has become a bogeyman on the right, with many conservatives arguing it somehow promotes racism and divides people, even though the tenets of the discipline are quite the opposite, seeking to understand the mechanisms of racism with a view towards ultimately making them disappear.
Some GOP states have moved to ban the teaching of critical race theory, even though most public schools don’t teach it, which critics argue will silence or chill teaching about US history.