A photo of 16 black West Point cadets raising their fists is causing controversy, with many offended viewers linking the image to supporting the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The image would violate West Point’s policies against participating in political acts or movements while in uniform, if the cadets’ raised fists represent support for the activist group.
“We can confirm that the cadets in this photo are members of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2016,” Lt. Christopher Kasker, a spokesman for West Point, told the Daily News in a statement. “Academy officials are conducting an inquiry into the matter.”
Several offended readers had sent the photo to the Army Times on Wednesday, upset that the women violated the policies.
John Burk, a former soldier turned motivational coach and fitness guru accused the 16 cadets of aligning themselves with the “Black Lives Matter” movement, claiming the seniors have been anonymously standing up for themselves on Yik Yak.
“It’s a really touchy subject here. We can get kicked out of West Point, or forced to repeat years for what is called a ‘respect board,’” the anonymous source told the blogger. “They can be given just for making someone upset, so no one wants to get kicked out of college and lose their commission over something like this.”
Burk’s Facebook post on the photo reached more than 1,500 reactions since Thursday, being shared more than 1,300 times, with over 660 comments on the controversy.
“Equality means abiding by the same standards. Kick those WOMEN OUT!,” William H. Reynolds replied on the post.
“All of theses cadets should be expelled, immediately!” Eddie Carmack commented.
The 16 West Point cadets in the photo have not been individually named or identified.
SOURCE: ALFRED NG
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS