Republican Sen. Tom Cotton demanded answers Wednesday from a defense contractor after a report alleged that a three-day training program was hosted for white male executives.
Cotton addressed CEO Lockheed Martin CEO, Jim Taiclet, in the letter and asked him to verify various details about the reported program. Journalist Christopher Rufo reported a week earlier that the defense contractor had allegedly hosted “White Men As Full Diversity Partners,” a diversity-consulting firm that directed 13 of the company’s senior employees to deconstruct their “white male privilege.”
“This training, if it occurred, appears to violate the principle of equal treatment that is the bedrock of American law, including civil-rights law,” Cotton wrote. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in particular forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of race and engaging in any activities that ‘limit, segregate, or clarify [their] employees.”
During the training, employees were asked to list connotations for the term “white men,” which elicited responses including “racist,” “privileged,” “anti-women,” “Aryan nation,” “KKK,” “Founding fathers,” and “can’t jump.”
The trainers reportedly linked the “roots of white male culture” to traits including a “can-do attitude” and “hard work” which can apparently have “devastating” effects for women and minorities.
“The previous administration observed that the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating commonly found in these trainings ‘may contribute to a hostile work environment and give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Cotton continued.
The employees were also allegedly tasked with reviewing a series of statements the trainers considered privileges enjoyed by white people, males, and heterosexuals, respectively. The statements including, “I can commit acts of terrorism, violence or crime and not have it attributed to my race,” and “I can take and develop photos of my toddler at bath time without having my motivation questioned.”