Are White Federal Employees Inherently Racist?

OPM is requiring all agencies to submit diversity and inclusion training for review and approval before it is used.

In Race Training for Federal Employees is a Sickness, the article noted that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget had issued a memo to federal agencies on training for the federal workforce on diversity and inclusion. The memo was issued after President Trump sent out a tweet that “critical race theory” is a “sickness that cannot be allowed to continue.”

As a follow-up to the memo, on September 22nd, the President signed Executive Order 13950, entitled “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.”

The stated purpose of the Executive Order was “to promote economy and efficiency in Federal contracting, to promote unity in the Federal workforce, and to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping….”

Presidential Debates and Critical Race Theory

The President’s action to eliminate training such as “critical race training” in government has gotten national attention.

In the first presidential debate this year, this topic was raised by moderator Chris Wallace why the President issued an order to stop training on critical race theory. President Trump stated, “I ended it because it is racist.” He added that the training was “teaching people to hate our country.”

Former Vice-President Joe Biden stated in response: “Nobody’s doing that” and “He’s wrong.”

America as an “Irredeemably Racist, Sexist Country”

The Executive Order noted:

Today…many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans. 

Critical Race Theory Training in Government

The Executive Order also cited examples of training in the federal government that displayed the concepts of “critical race theory” as outlined in the original FedSmith article. For example:

A Smithsonian Institution museum graphic recently claimed that concepts like “[o]bjective, rational linear thinking,” “[h]ard work” being “the key to success,” the “nuclear family,” and belief in a single god are not values that unite Americans of all races but are instead “aspects and assumptions of whiteness.” The museum also stated that “[f]acing your whiteness is hard and can result in feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion, defensiveness, or fear.”

All White People Contribute to Racism

The Executive Order also cited a Department of the Treasury training session promoting arguments that “virtually all White people, regardless of how ‘woke’ they are, contribute to racism,” and that instructed small group leaders to encourage employees to avoid “narratives” that Americans should “be more color-blind” or “let people’s skills and personalities be what differentiates them.”

The problem with the critical race theory and associated ideology is, according to the President’s Order: “All of this is contrary to the fundamental premises underpinning our Republic: that all individuals are created equal and should be allowed an equal opportunity under the law to pursue happiness and prosper based on individual merit.”

Reviewing Diversity and Inclusion Training for Racism

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has now issued a directive to agencies and human resources directors that diversity and inclusion training must be submitted to OPM for approval and review. The memo notes that OPM “must review and approve training materials before they are used, even if those materials have been utilized in the past.”

OPM is also requiring “one complete and all-inclusive submission from each Department, Agency, Board, or Commission. OPM will not accept requests for approval of individual training sessions. OPM will review materials in the order that they are submitted, under the First In First Out (FIFO) business rule and will provide analysis and feedback as quickly as possible.”

Fire Any Employee Authorizing Racially Divisive Training

In order to indicate the Administration is serious about removing this type of training from the government, the Executive Order also directs OPM to issue regulations that “any  supervisor or employee (who) either authorizes or approves training that promotes the divisive concepts set forth in section 2(a) of this order, shall take appropriate steps to pursue a performance-based adverse action proceeding against such supervisor or employee under chapter 43 or 75 of title 5, United States Code.”

The memo from OPM covers the federal government and federal contractors conducting the training. It applies to all diversity and inclusion training programs and any kind of training on these subjects.

The training program documents and plans are to be submitted to this address. The OPM directive also notes that OPM “must review and approve all diversity and inclusion materials before they are utilized, but if agencies can improve their materials before submitting them, that will expedite completion of the review process.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47