Last Updated on September 22, 2022
Cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado are being instructed to address people in terms that “include all genders” while avoiding the use of “gendered” language. Terms cadets are told to avoid include boyfriend, girlfriend, mom and dad, among others.
A slide presentation titled, “Diversity & Inclusion: What it is, why we care, & what we can do,” advises cadets to use “person-centered” and gender-neutral language when describing individuals, according to documents obtained by Fox News.
“Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad,'” the presentation states. “Use words that include all genders: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys’; ‘partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend.’”
“Not ‘Colorblind’ or ‘I don’t see color,’ but Color Conscious,” the presentation adds. “We see Color/Patterns AND VALUE people for their uniqueness.”
The documents were shared with Fox News by U.S. Rep. Mike Walz (R-FL), a Green Beret and Afghanistan veteran, who said the content caused concern among cadets.
During an interview with Fox News, Walz stated that, “it’s been a tradition in the military to get letters from mom and dad or your boyfriend and girlfriend for as long as there’s been a military.”
“Now we’re instructing every cadet entering the Air Force to not say ‘mom’ and ‘dad,’ to not say ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend,’ and this kind of drive towards gender neutrality,” the congressman went on to say. “I think the Air Force should be worried about the macro aggressions against America that are happening all over the world.”
In another exercise, cadets are asked to separate into small groups and write down as many “G-Animals,” or animals that start with the letter “G,” that they can think of in a minute’s time. “What does this activity show us about the power of combining our diverse perspectives?” the activity asks. “If this were an operational USAF/USSF [United States Space Force] challenge (think COA [course of action] development) what risks might be present if we did not fully leverage the diversity of our group?”
Another slide claims that Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) training is essential for “developing warfighters” to be “prepared to lead the USAF/USSF with character.”
“Today we are preparing to face challenges that may not exist today,” the training says. “For example, Information Warfare only became a career field 7 years ago, and we stood up the Space Force in 2019. This makes our need to innovate critical. Thus, our leaders have deemed D&I a warfighting imperative.”
At the end of the presentation, cadets are informed where they can access additional D&I resources on campus including a “D&I Reading Room” and “Affinity groups,” Fox News reported. According to the academy’s website, affinity groups help cadets “gather around a shared affinity or bond” and can be “identity-based,” “interest/career-based” or “cadet experience-based.”
In a 2021 press release, the academy its Diversity and Inclusion Reading Room as “an informal space for cadets and permanent party to broaden and deepen their exploration of the issues involved in diversity, inclusion and justice.”
Mark Jensen, president of the Academy’s faculty senate and a philosophy professor, said the reading room was created as a result of “teamwork between faculty members and the Academy’s ongoing Critical Conversation series that formed in the wake of George Floyd’s Death,” according to the press release.