Defense Department DEI education official claims past racially-charged tweets were ‘private speech’

Defense Department DEI education official claims past racially-charged tweets were ‘private speech’

The chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at the Department of Defense’s education wing defended herself against claims from lawmakers that she made “racially disparaging” statements, according to reports.

Fox News Digital reported in September 2022 that Kalisa Wing, the DEI chief at the Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA, which provides K-12 education to the DoD community in the US and all over the world, wrote a series of disparaging posts about White people on Twitter.

Kelisa Wing is a DEI chief at the Department of Defense.

Kelisa Wing is a DEI chief at the Department of Defense. (Leigh Ann Erickson and Kelisa Wing | YouTube/Screenshot)

In an interview with the Military Times, Wing said when he made the statements, he was not speaking on behalf of the DoDEA, but instead as an educator and private citizen.

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“No, I did not make disparaging comments against White people,” she said. “I would never categorize an entire group of people to disparage them. I’m speaking now as a private individual, about my private free speech from July of 2022.”

Wing wrote in a series of tweets in June 2020, that have since been taken down, “I’m exhausted with these white folx in the [professional development] sessions.”

Kelisa Wing, a diversity chief at the Department of Defense, posts disparaging posts about White people on Twitter.

Kelisa Wing, a diversity chief at the Department of Defense, posts disparaging posts about White people on Twitter. (Kelissa Wing/Twitter)

“[T]his lady actually had the CAUdacity to say that black people can be racist too… I had to stop the session and give Karen the BUSINESS… [W]e are not the majority, we don’t have power,” she continued.

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“Caudacity” is a slang term that is used to describe audacity demonstrated by White people.

At the time of her tweets, Wing’s account was set to public but has since been set to private.

The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to questions about Wing’s comments or interviews with the publication.

The Military Times reported that Wing defended the tweets by saying they must be looked at in terms of context for that day.

FILE - The Pentagon is seen from Air Force One as it flies over Washington, March 2, 2022. A new Pentagon office set up to track reports of unidentified flying objects has received

FILE – The Pentagon is seen from Air Force One as it flies over Washington, March 2, 2022. A new Pentagon office set up to track reports of unidentified flying objects has received “several hundreds” of new reports, but no evidence so far of alienlife. That’s according to the leadership of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office. ((AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File))

Wing posted the tweets on a day that she was attending a professional development session, outside of work on her day off. The session was not connected to the DoDEA.

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“I was in a space where I was the only person of color,” she told the publication, explaining that the session took place in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020. “The purpose of that was people wanting to reconcile what was happening at the present time.

“In the middle of that session, someone just called out, ‘Well, Black people are racist, too,'” she added. “It didn’t have any context to what we were talking about, and I started to explain to her that yes, everybody can be racist. But we’re talking about systemic racism and how that impacts people and their abilities for housing, their ability for a lot of things.

“That’s something that I thought we were there to discuss,” Wing said.

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Wing also addressed reports that lawmakers referenced accusing Wing of tweeting that she was “exhausted by 99% of the white men in education and 95% of the white women.”

She told the Military Times the reports were wrong, and that Fox News reported correctly that the tweet was made by another user.

“The truth is important. I would never say anything like that,” she said. “It’s in direct contradiction and misalignment to who I am and who I’ve been my entire life.

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“I can’t advocate for equity and access and opportunity and then not be willing to advocate for myself when injustice is happening to myself,” Wing added. “I have to stand up at some point, and this is the right time.”

Hannah Grossman contributed to the reporting of this story.