EXCLUSIVE – Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks on Wednesday sent a letter to Adm. Michael M. Gilday after the Navy included Boston University Professor Ibram X. Kendi‘s “How to Be an Antiracist” on its 2021 reading list.
The No. 1 New York Times bestseller, which has been adopted by some schools and educators, gives advice on how people can be explicitly “antiracist,” as opposed to not racist, and “promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society,” according to the author’s website.
Banks, a Naval Reserve officer since 2012 and ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, argues in his letter that the views promoted in the book on the 2021 Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program are “explicitly anti-American” and called on Gilday to explain the Navy’s decision to include it on the CNO-PRP list or remove it.
“The views promoted in ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ are explicitly anti-American. According to Kendi, America is fundamentally racist, so anti-Americanism is a moral imperative,” Branks wrote. “… Cohesiveness and unity in our armed services is essential. Kendi’s ideas are divisive and will undermine morale and weaken our national security.”
The Navy did not respond to an inquiry from Fox News.
The book is listed under the “Sailors” category in the “Foundational” sub-section, which aims to ensure that Navy sailors “remain the best trained and educated force in the world,” and that the military branch cultivates “a culture of warfighting excellence rooted in our core values,” according to Navy’s website.
Banks added in his letter that he is “flabbergasted by the Navy’s decision to officially endorse such a harmful and subversive book” and called on Gilday to provide him “with a written response explaining how ‘How to be an Antiracist’ cultivates a culture of warfighting excellence,’ or remove ‘How to be an Antiracist’ from the CNO-PRP Reading List.”
“As a former servicemember, the claim that ‘How to Be an Antiracist’ is consistent with the Navy’s core values is troubling,” the congressman wrote. “In Kendi’s own words, the defining idea behind the book is that: ‘there is no such thing a not-racist idea,’ there are only, ‘racist ideas and antiracist ideas.'”
Banks cited The Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Kendi, however, argues in his book that “if discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist. … The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination.”
“Although this sounds harmless, it is radically opposed to foundational American documents like the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, and more recent anti-discrimination protections like the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Banks wrote.
The book also concludes that the United States as a nation, as well as its institutions, are inherently “racist”; “capitalism is essentially racist”; “racism is essentially capitalist”; and that “when it comes to healing America of racism,” Americans should “want to heal America without pain, but without pain, there is no progress.”
Sales of anti-racism books including “How to be an Anti-Racist”; Robin D’Angilo’s “White Fragility”; and Ijeomo Oluo’s “So You Want to Talk About Race” surged in popularity over the summer after George Floyd‘s May 25 death in police custody in Minneapolis — an event that sparked protests across the country and calls for both ordinary Americans and large corporations to take steps toward promoting antiracism and racial equity.