West Point Female Cadets Cause Controversy With Raised Fist Photo

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Following school tradition, 16 female cadets at West Point posed in historical-style uniforms just days before their  graduations scheduled for later this month. But the photo with the female cadets posing with raised fist has caused a storm of controversy and has led to an investigation into whether the raised fists by 16 black female cadets violated the school honor code or a Department of Defense rule about participating in political activities while in uniform.

The Times reports: The gesture, posted on Facebook and Twitter last week, touched off a barrage of criticism in and out of the armed forces as some commenters accused the women of allying themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement and sowing racial divisions in a military that relies on assimilation.

West Point opened an investigation on April 28 into whether the women violated Army rules that prohibit political activities while in uniform. Now, as the women wait to hear if they will be punished, they are gaining supporters who say they were simply making a gesture of solidarity and strength.

Mary Tobin, who graduated from West Point about 13 years ago said the image of the cadets “wasn’t a sign of formal allegiance to any political movement or party. This was an act of unity amongst sisters and a symbol of achievement.”  Read more…

Blogger John Burk, a veteran, said the pose was an “overt display of the black lives matter movement” and doing so in uniform “is completely unprofessional and not in keeping with what the [United States Military Academy] stands for.”  The Times reports:

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“Mr. Burk, a former drill sergeant, who is white, said via email that he had disciplined soldiers for making Nazi salutes in photos, and felt the raised fist was not much different.”  Read more…

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