Diversity has become an obstacle to promoting highly qualified and decorated officers of the Air Force by Republican Senator Sen. Eric Schmitt (MO). Colonel Benjamin Jonsson’s perspectives about upholding the values and norms of diversity in American society resisted his promotion to brigadier (five-star general). Keep reading to learn how much diversity and inclusion has been a hot topic of America’s politics.

Why Does the Grand Old Party Want to Stop This Promotion?

Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Mo, wanted to sideline the promotion of Colonel Benjamin Jonsson because of his perspectives on diversity in the military, equity, and inclusion agenda.

Source: Jabin Botsford

Further, he elaborated that DEI programs are a divisive factor, and the Senator is a proponent of ending them.

What are DEI Programs, and What Are the Factors Behind Resistance?

DEI programs stand for addressing issues related to discrimination, differences of opinion, and marginalization and for creating a culture of mutuality and inclusion.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Senator Schmitt deemed these programs are driving a wedge between military members that could potentially broaden the already existing recruiting issues.

Why is Johnsson Meeting Hue and Cry?

Johnson submitted a commentary for Air Force Times in 2020 with the title “Dear White Colonel… We must address our blind spot around race.”

Source: The Tennessee Star

This article critiqued and voiced against the existing racial disparities in the Air Force.

What Was the Context Behind Writing That Article by Colonel Benjamin Jonsson

He wrote this piece of article after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In this article, he addressed another white colonel to highlight the existing issue of race and discrimination in the Air Force. Additionally, he relayed specific happenings in which white colonels didn’t respond well to the issues of racism, inequality, and marginalization. The appeal of Colonel Benjamin Jonsson to read “White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism”:

Source: deccanherald

In the ending remarks of the article, Colonel Benjamin Jonsson appealed to another white colonel to read a book named “White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism”, a New York Times book recommended by several academics and intellectuals. This book educates and empowers people with information about racism.

Structural Flaws Highlighted By Colonel Jonsson

He wrote that white colonels are the biggest barrier blocks to substantial change. He insisted on addressing the racial injustice within the institution of the Air Force.

Source: The Heritage Foundation

Colonel manifested the blindness of white colonels about the institutional capacity of racism and discrimination.

Response of Heritage Foundation about Colonel Benjamin Jonsson’s Article

Heritage Foundation is a conservative think tank. They wrote a scathing critique of Benjamin Jonsson’s article after the announcement of his promotion.

Source: The Heritage

The think tank wrote that Jonsson’s commentary in Air Force Times adhered to woke views rather than traditional American preserved values.

Heritage Foundation Slammed The Recommendation of the Book White Fragility

Colonel recommended a book to educate fellow colonels about race and discrimination.

Source: Adobe Stock

The Heritage Foundation asserted that the book revolved around so-called critical race theory, which expounded the idea of systematic institutional discrimination against race. They denied the fact.

Only Jonsson’s Promotion is Stalled

Due to the perspectives of DEI policies, Schmitt put an embargo on his promotion. He was not only the person whose promotion was resisted by Senator Schmitt but another fiver, too.

Source: The Daily Signal

Later on, Schmitt lifted the ban on the promotion of five others. Only Colonel Jonsson remained from promotion.

Who Nominated Colonel Benjamin Jonsson

Originally, Colonel Benjamin Jonsson was nominated by President Biden in January 2023.

Source: Starrs

In December 2023, Tuberville lifted his hold. Senator Schmitt used his senator’s right to stop his nomination and promotion.

Schmitt Perspectives About the Blockage

Schmitt said, “It is long past time to root out divisive DEI policies and their advocates from our apolitical military.”

Source: Modern War Institute

He further explained his views that leaders must focus on the unity of the mission and not on the differences. It is mandatory to focus on purpose if we want to maintain our military as the greatest meritocratic force in the world.

Heather Wilson, Secretary of Air Force during the Trump era, views about colonel

She said that Jonsson has been commander or vice commander four times and has done a huge job as a leader.

Source: PBS

She said that the “Military has very few officers this well prepared in the subject matter of national interest to the United States.”

Biographic Features And Characteristics of Colonel Benjamin Jonsson

He is chief of staff for Air Mobility Command. He is fluent in Arabic, has several Air Medals, and flew around 900 combat hours over Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Source: Macdill

Kris Bauman, a former Air Force colonel, recommended that he be a decorated nominee for the promotion. Bauman argued that it was a political agenda to resist his promotion.

Jonsson’s Continuous Advocacy Around Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

Jonsson believes in diversity and multilateral efforts in Air Force standards and mission. He thought that inclusion and values of diversity bring innovation and a growth mindset for continuous progress and advancement.

Source: Scissortail Creative Services

It will further solidify our force and mission of competitiveness.

Message of Colonel Benjamin Jonsson to other Air Force officers

He messaged that colonels set the calendar and culture and created policies at most of the installations in the Air Force. He insisted and pleaded to learn humility and address the blind spot of race.

Source: Air Force Times

In the words of Colonel Benjamin Jonsson, “We can rise above systematic barriers of racism; we can break these invisible forces if we engage and stop excusing ourselves.”

Diversity Is the Character Set to American Values

Colonel Benjamin Jonsson said that the leader must set values, and American founding values revolve around the culture of diversity and setting a precedent of social inclusion.

Source: Medium

The murder of George Floyd created a rift and manifested the eroding values that have joined our institutions. The leaders and military colonels need to set the precedent of our old values of inclusivity, equity, and diversity for the progress of our society and commitment to humility and human tendencies.