West Point officials are conducting an investigation into 16 black female cadets for appearing in a picture raising their fists, a symbol emblematic of the nascent Black Lives Matter movement.
If that’s the case, these cadets are in big trouble for involvement in partisan political activity, which constitutes a violation of Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces. Cadets are not supposed to be making political statements when in uniform, Army Times reports.
According to the regulation, these cadets should not “Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to the public at one’s residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development.”
West Point confirmed an investigation is underway.
“We can confirm that the cadets in this photo are members of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2016,” West Point’s director of public affairs Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker told Army Times. “Academy officials are conducting an inquiry into the matter.”
The raised fist is not necessarily indicative of support for Black Lives Matter, as the symbol has been used elsewhere by socialist groups and labor unions.
Former soldier John Burk posted the photo online and said the students in the picture had already been engaging in political agitation quietly and behind the scenes.
“The ladies before you are class seniors and have been making their voices heard more and more on an app called “Yik Yak” where users are kept anonymous, yet no one dares speak up in public against them due to them being accused of being racist and risk being expelled from the academy from hurting someone’s feelings,” Burk wrote.
A source at West Point told Burk raising the issue of black female cadets engaged in leftist political activism at the military academy is incredibly precarious, since doing so may result in serious backlash from officials.
“We can get kicked out of West Point, or forced to repeat years for what is called a “respect board.” They can be given for just making someone upset, so no one wants to get kicked out of college and lose their commission over something like this, especially since a white man, in this situation, is already at a disadvantage when a conversation like this starts. It’s purely political,” the source told Burk.
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