An interesting hearing before the House Armed Services Committee took place on Tuesday.
It featured Admiral Michael Gilday, a Chief of Naval Operations, and his policy of mandating that the U.S. Navy officers read the book “How to be an Anti-Racist.”
The book was written by Ibram X. Kendi, a well-known anti-racist activist, and historian from New York.
“How to be an Anti-Racist”
The main idea of Kendi’s book is that one can either be racist or “anti-racist.”
For him, no one can refrain from taking sides in the dispute.
The book also features recommendations on how a person can eschew the racist tendencies in his or her thoughts and behavior.
In his book, Kendi also offered suggestions for decision-makers on how to tackle racism.
He was particularly critical of black people, usually, those in power, who resort to the practice of “internalized racism” in order to secure their positions.
Kendi also tackled common issues surrounding racism, such as the idea that biology and behavior differ among racial groups.
Admiral Gilday tried to explain that the principal goal of the introduction of Kendi’s book was to make the U.S. Navy stronger and more cohesive.
When attacked by the Committee members, Gilday said that he did not plan to defend the quotes his opponents “cherry-picked” from Kendi’s book.
The Naval Operations Chief accused his critics of trying to depict the U.S. Navy as weak, thus misrepresenting the true strength of the Navy unites, best exemplified by the fact that sailors spent the whole 341 days at sea during the last year, with a negligible level of port visits.
However, Gilday’s opponents remained firm in their criticism of the newly instituted reading list policy.
Some of them pointed out that Gilday contradicted himself when he both said that he read and that he did not read the book.
Others paid more attention to Gilday’s own admission that he did not agree with some of the book’s claims.
Finally, there were those who were much more radical and accused Gilday of actually promoting racism, particularly the one aimed at white people.
Regardless of whether any of these criticisms hold, Gilday’s decision would hardly cease being a matter of controversy among the people involved.