West Point Investigating Photo of Cadets with Raised Fists

Andrew Blake, Washington Times, May 5, 2016

The United States Military Academy at West Point said Wednesday that an investigation is underway regarding a photograph that shows 16 black cadets in uniform posing with their fists in the air.

“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 on Wednesday. “Academy officials are conducting an inquiry into the matter.

John Burk, an Army veteran who served in the Iraq War before launching a popular fitness website, accused the 16 female cadets photographed in the picture of aligning themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement by posing with their fists raised–a gesture that indeed has been adopted by the protest movement, as well as other, unrelated groups for centuries.

If the gesture was meant to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, he wrote, then the women may have violated a Department of Defense directive that prohibits enlisted members from engaging in “partisan political activity” while in uniform.

“This overt display of the Black Lives Matter movement is not, in itself, wrong per say [sic], but to do so while in uniform is completely unprofessional and not in keeping with what the USMA stands for,” Mr. Burk wrote on his “In the Arena” website.

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