Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL-03) joined Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL-15) in sending a letter to the Department of Defense, demanding answers from the Pentagon regarding troubling statements made by Kelisa Wing, the Department of Defense Education Activity’s Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
A recent Fox News article uncovered a June 2020 tweet by Ms. Wing where she stated: “I’m exhausted with these white folx in these [professional development] sessions this lady had the CAUdacity [Caucasian audacity] to say black people can be racist too.” Ms. Wing, who oversees curriculum at DoDEA, helped write children’s books on defunding the police, Black Lives Matter, and White Privilege. In “What is White Privilege?” she includes lines such as, “If you are White you might feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege.”
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) provides K-12 education for the military community in the U.S. and across the globe. In her role as Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Ms. Wing has significant influence over what is taught to children in the DoD community, making her comments particularly concerning.
“These statements made by Ms. Wing, a senior official within the largest government agency, are truly disturbing,” said Rep. Cammack. “In a role that promotes the equitable treatment of all people, using language that creates divisiveness between races and weaponizes law enforcement is a serious offense that the DoDEA must take seriously. This egregious show of bias by Ms. Wing is antithetical to democracy at its core, and must be investigated by Secretary Austin immediately.”
“Kelisa Wing’s racially motivated statements are divisive and toxic,” said Rep. Franklin. “It’s disappointing that the Pentagon failed to perform a thorough vetting of Ms. Wing’s views and rhetoric before placing her in a leadership role involving education curriculum. It’s yet another example of how the Biden administration has sought to politicize our military. Secretary Austin should investigate and take immediate action.”
Original signees of the letter include Reps. Cammack, Austin Scott (R-GA), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Chip Roy (R-TX), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Mary E. Miller (R-IL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Neal P. Dunn, M.D. (R-FL), Pat Fallon (R-TX), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Ronny L. Jackson (R-TX), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).
The full text of the letter may be found below.
Dear Secretary Austin,
We write you today to express concerns with Kelisa Wing, the Department of Defense Education Activity’s (DoDEA) Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI). Recent news reports revealed racially divisive statements made by Wing. The role of the CDEI is to ensure military schools are an inclusive place for service members’ children, regardless of race. We are concerned that the comments made by Ms. Wing demonstrate an egregious bias which is contrary to the goals of DoDEA.
In a tweet from July 23, 2020, Ms. Wing stated on Twitter “I’m so exhausted at these white folx in these PD [professional development] sessions this lady actually had the CAUdacity [Caucasian audacity] to say black people can be racist too.” Ms. Wing is listed as an author on several progressive children’s books in a series called “Racial Justice In America.” One book is called “What Is White Privilege?” while another is “What Does it Mean To Defund the Police?’ The former has lines such as: “If you are White you might feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege.” These racially divisive comments are directly counterproductive to the goal of a professional and diverse military. We must oppose racism wherever it occurs, but an approach that singles out one group or race is at odds with the military’s proud history of racial integration.
For these reasons, we are concerned that Ms. Wing’s rhetoric is not in line with the values and standards of the DoD. Furthermore, we have reservations of the judgment of DoDEA Director Thomas Brady. Director Brady once stated, “Kelisa Wing is exactly the right person to lead our efforts in building on the foundational work done to support meaningful change in our organization,” which shows either poor judgment or willful ignorance.
Considering the statements made by Ms. Wing, we submit to you the following questions:
- Is the ideology expressed by Ms. Wing in “What is White Privilege?” and her subsequent statements consistent with the educational curriculum of the DoDEA?
- Does DoD endorse the ideologies shared by Ms. Wing on her Twitter posts regarding racial issues?
- Was DoDEA aware of the divisive statements made by Ms. Wing prior to her appointment to the position of CDEI in December of 2021?
- Has Ms. Wing’s radical ideology been integrated into the curriculum proposed by DoDEA?
We look forward to your timely response to these questions.