How Joe Biden Should Implement Critical Race Theory in the Defense Department
President Joe Biden has already shown that racial equity and Critical Race Theory will play a key role in the ideology of his administration. Essentially, Critical Race Theory holds that certain races have malign characteristics intrinsic to their skin color. Some races use racial privilege and power to oppress other races. This theory is not new; indeed, it has been a major stream in Western thinking for over a century.
A version of Critical Race Theory was implemented as the core ideology of the German State between 1933 and 1945. In the German version of Critical Race Theory, it was the Jewish race that used their power and privilege to oppress other races, and therefore needed to be legally sanctioned. One can read the scholarship of the Third Reich’s leading institute of racial science, Jena University’s Institute for Heredity and Racial Policy (Institut für menschliche Erbkunde und Rassenpolitik) from the 1930s and simply exchange the term “Whites” in place of “Jews” -- and it reads awfully close to today’s official racial ideology.
As a military man and former Defense Department civilian I am concerned how we implement Critical Race Theory in the Defense Department. After all, the Defense Department is the one branch of the government over which Joe Biden, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has complete control. Moreover, the problem of whiteness in the military has already been brought to the forefront by Democratic Representative Steven Cohen. (Democratic congressman Steve Cohen suggests National Guard members might 'want to do something' to Joe Biden during his inauguration because 'they are mostly white Trump supporters' | News Break)
The Department of Defense senior leadership has already instituted training that highlights the problem of a military in which over 50% of its members share the malign characteristics of being both male and white. One might think that an official ideology that declares an entire race to be malign and oppressive could not pass muster with the clear language of the 14th Amendment and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, we can be sure that any legal opposition to Critical Race Theory will be swept aside by Chief Justice Roberts.
Indeed, the real problem in implementing Critical Race Theory will be in its practical application. We can look at the Third Reich experience with critical race theory. The Nuremberg Laws enacted in September 1935 created legal sanctions against German Jews, who then constituted less than 1% of the German population. The German State believed that it would be easy to sanction and suppress a relatively small group, but there were unanticipated realities. In the century since Jewish emancipation, Jews had assimilated, become middle class, and intermarried widely with Christian Germans. When the law required all Germans prove their Aryan Germanic status, many more than 1% of Germans had enough Jewish ancestry to face sanction under the Nuremberg Laws. These included many individuals very useful to the German State, including distinguished soldiers, engineers, doctors, and aircraft designers. There were also cases of devoted Nazi Gauleiters, totally committed to the Party, who discovered that Grandma Schultz had actually been born a Goldberg. Such people faced loss of party status, job, and citizenship.
The head of state, Mr. Hitler, instituted an imaginative program designed to retain the services of many valuable and talented Germans with Jewish ancestry. Hitler intervened and personally reviewed files of people legally declared Jewish and, in a few thousand cases, pronounced that certain people –including many in the military – were not Jewish but actually Aryan. Hitler issued certificates of “Arianization” clearing people of their Jewish ancestry and thus entitled to all rights and privileges of an Aryan German citizen. (Bryan Rigg, Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers, Kansas 2002)
In combating whiteness in the U.S. armed forces, the Biden administration can follow the 1930s German approach and issue certificates of “minoritization,” making the recipient legally non-white. Applications for minoritization could be accompanied by a large financial donation to the Joe and Hunter Biden Charitable Foundation, soon to be established. However, few members of the armed forces have the financial resources to make the kind of donations that the Bidens would expect. So, the rank and file will have to look to other means of achieving minority status.
Senator Elizabeth Warren gives us one model for “minoritization.” Early in her career, Senator Warren declared through “family lore” evidence she was not a blonde, white woman, but actually a Native American. Thanks to this scam, she advanced through affirmative action to become Harvard Law School’s first female professor “of color.” It was remarkably effective – except for one inconvenient fact. In becoming Native American, she chose the only racial group clearly defined under American law. To be a recognized member of a Native American nation, “family lore” doesn’t’ hack it. One must prove direct ancestral connections through tribal registers, no tribal registration, no Native American status. In the great chandelier of our politician-lawyers, Elizabeth Warren may be the dimmest bulb.
But, luckily for most of us who are smarter than Senator Warren, other races and ethnicities are not clearly defined under U.S. law. So, I suggest a variation of the Warren method to attain coveted minority status that is simple and legal. In my own family tree, I found a Mary Brown who married an ancestor in the 1830s. There is no information as to her birth, or parentage, or origin. But according to “family lore,” I heard that Mary Brown was actually born Maria Moreno and had immigrated from Spain. Voilà! I have just been transformed from being a white oppressor into being a non-white victim.
Recent scientific studies of mitochondrial DNA could be used redefine race Thanks to the Medieval invasions of Europe by the Asiatic Huns, Avars and Mongols, just about anyone whose family originates to the east of Switzerland is likely to have a good deal of Asian DNA in their makeup. The only problem with claiming Asian as your racial category is that you are screwed if you apply to an Ivy League school, especially Harvard. But until the U.S. adopts detailed racial definition laws -- the Third Reich’s Nuremberg Laws or the Apartheid Laws of the Republic of South Africa are excellent models for the Biden Administration — most white personnel can find a way to claim coveted minority status.
But what can we do about the high-ranking leadership staffed by thousands of white male flag officers and senior civilians who have for decades been part of the systemic racism that plagues America? In the long past era when the Defense department was focused on winning wars, it was necessary to tolerate meritocracy regardless of race. But, thankfully, that can be dispensed with today. Under the Clinton, Bush, and Obama presidencies, the outmoded Defense department focus upon winning wars was thrown out. Since the Clinton administration, the key prerequisite for career advancement has been a readiness to say or do anything that will please the political leadership.
The one thing that can immediately end the malign power of white males in the military and civilian senior ranks of the Department of Defense is to require all high-ranking white males to undergo transgender surgery. Even if generals and senior civilians remain white, they will be freed of the toxic influence of maleness. Nothing less can reassure the Democrat party leaders of the military’s absolute personal loyalty to Joe Biden. This progressive move to literally transform our senior defense leaders will not harm the nation, as the establishment’s military/security policies will continue to fail regardless of whether the top leaders or white or minorities, male or female (or cisgender). And while a Bidenized defense leadership will continue to lose wars, at least our senior leaders will look a lot more interesting.
James S. Corum PhD is a military historian, author and co-author of 14 books, and is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.