Concerns raised about ‘racial bias’ with DOD official who reportedly decried ‘white nonsense’
al.com February 2, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — A U.S. Department of Defense education official said to have made comments reflecting “racial bias” has drawn the attention of Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers, the newly appointed chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
Rogers pointed to multiple comments made by Kelisa Wing, who made “alarming comments exhibiting overt racial bias,” according to a letter written by Rogers and Indiana Congressman Jim Banks, chair of the subcommittee on Military Personnel, to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The letter identifies Wing as the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer in the Department of Defense Education Activity, citing a September story in the New York Post – which reported on comments allegedly made by Wing. There were multiple national reports in September and October about comments attributed to Wing.
Among the comments attributed to Wing raised by Rogers and Banks in the letter and cited from various media reports were that “she self-identified as a ‘woke administrator’ decrying ‘white nonsense.’ “
It was reported she referred to “CAUdacity,” a pejorative used to demean white people, combining the terms “Caucasian” and “audacity.”
Wing also expressed her displeasure with white people, saying, “I am exhausted by 99% of the white men in education and 95% of the white women,” posting again, “Where can I get a break from white nonsense for a while?”
The letter also alluded to a passage written “in a book” that said, “White privilege hurts a lot of people. 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.” The letter’s source of the passage was a Fox News report and did not identify the book in which the comments were made.
Wing has written several children’s books with titles such as “What is Anti-Racism?” “What is White Privilege?” and “What is the Black Lives Matter Movement?”
Some of the comments Wing is said to have made were on Twitter. Her Twitter account is private, which means only approved followers can see what she posts.
In December, Wing was named a fellow at The Equity Lab and her bio states her job title as the “professional development specialist for the Department of Defense Education Activity.” It was not immediately clear if that is a different role from being DEI officer.
“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,” the letter said. “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.”
The letter asks for an array of education materials from the Defense department “to better understand what the DOD is doing to address Ms. Wing’s blatantly offensive comments.” And the letter notes that a group of 22 Republicans wrote a letter to Austin in September 2022 addressing concerns about Wing.
“To date, no meaningful answers have been forthcoming,” the Rogers-Banks letter said. “This is unacceptable.”
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