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GOP Reps. Banks, Rogers, press DOD's Austin on racial comments from DEI officer

"I am exhausted by 99% of the white men in education and 95% of the white women."

Published: January 31, 2023 4:37pm

Updated: January 31, 2023 6:43pm

Republican Reps. Mike Rogers, Ala., and Jim Banks, Ind., on Monday demanded that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin account for racially disparaging comments that Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Kelisa Wing made on social media.

"We write to inquire how you are addressing racially disparaging comments made by a Department of Defense (DOD) official and to what degree her viewpoints are more widely accepted, promoted, or dispersed throughout the Department," the pair wrote. "Our society values the virtues of merit, hard work, and equality of opportunity which distinguish our nation from others. It is outrageous that a DOD official whose job it is to oversee 'worldwide K-12 education programs for the children of DOD personnel,' has engaged in racially disparaging comments with clearly inflammatory language on her social media and in other writings."

The letter makes reference to Wing's Twitter profile on which she identified as a "woke administrator."

"I am exhausted by 99% of the white men in education and 95% of the white women," she wrote. "Where can I get a break from white nonsense for a while?"

"White privilege hurts a lot of people," she wrote in a book. "If you are White, you might not feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege. Privileges like extra money in your pocket that you didn't earn."

In one instance, she used the term "CAUdacity," a portmanteau of "Caucasian" and "audacity." The word is a pejorative reference to white individuals.

"I'm so exhausted at these white folx [sic] in these PD sessions this lady actually had the CAUdacity to say that black people can be racist too... I had to stop the session and give Karen the BUSINESS... we are not the majority, we don't have power," she wrote.

DoDEA oversees the abroad K-12 educational opportunities for children of the department.

The Republican representatives indicated concern that Wing's views might enjoy some sort of endorsement in DoD schools.

"This kind of divisive rhetoric has no place anywhere, particularly for someone employed in a job whose purpose should be to encourage equal treatment of everyone," they wrote. "As Ms. Wing's behavior wildly betrayed her employment mission, it begs the question whether her views are more widely held throughout portions of DOD leadership or if they are merely a product of her own intolerance."

"We sincerely hope these are not the views being propagated to schoolchildren of our service men and women stationed throughout the world," the letter concluded.

The pair demanded documents pertaining to Wing's propagation of such views and the extent to which DoD officials may have been aware of her comments prior to the department hiring her.

They further sought any DoD educational materials that might reflect Wing's positions or espouse Critical Race Theory, or any other racially disparaging ideas.

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