The National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) condemns the Trump administration's action to cancel contracts that help to inform federal workers of “white privilege,” “critical race theory” and their long-standing effect on maintaining inequities in the U.S.
President Donald Trump instructed the White House Office of Management and Budget to restructure racial sensitivity training for federal agencies, saying its “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” The Sept. 4 OMB memo says:
…Employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism” or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism.”… These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce…. In the meantime, all agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory” “white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these unAmerican propaganda training sessions. The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government.
NAME knows firsthand that diversity and inclusion training helps adults — often for the first time — to understand the historical and ongoing effects of systemic racism in the United States. The sessions pull many people out of their comfort zone, enabling them to see how others who are disadvantaged must live. People in government agencies, businesses, colleges, universities, school districts, police departments, churches and community groups have benefited from such training promoting social justice and equity. They can see the tragedy and divisions that colonization, prejudices and discrimination have created against people of color. They become aware how creating a more equitable world benefits people with disabilities, women, individuals in the LGBTQIA community, people of color and other long-disadvantaged individuals. Empowered by diversity and inclusion training, individuals then have worked to undo the damage that explicit and implicit biases have on impairing the future of people in the United States and the country itself.
NAME realizes that diversity and inclusion training, in all spaces, including educational institutions, faith-based centers and law enforcement, is needed now more than ever as Black Lives Matter protests continue nationwide after the May 25 killing by Minneapolis police of unarmed African American George Floyd. Such killings of Black people include Daniel Prude (2020), Jacob Blake (2020), Breonna Taylor (2020), Sean Reed (2020), Atatiana Jefferson (2019), Botham Jean (2018), Charleena Lyles (2017), Philando Castile (2016), Terence Crutcher (2016), Keith Lamont Scott (2016), Michelle Shirley (2016), Delrawn Small (2016), Sylville Smith (2016), Alton Sterling (2016), Sandra Bland (2015), Jamar Clark (2015), Freddie Gray (2015), Eric Harris (2015), Walter Scott (2015), Michael Brown (2014), Eric Garner (2014), Laquan McDonald (2014), Tamir Rice (2014), Barrington “BJ” Williams (2020), Trayvon Martin (2012). The list of other people of color killed by police is too long include in this statement. However, NAME is fully aware that people of color are disproportionately stopped, searched and even killed by police. This often starts with people of color being disproportionately targeted for harsh discipline in schools.
NAME knows that more diversity and inclusion training is needed, not less. Such vital education promotes peace, a greater understanding among different people in the United States and helps the nation to finally realize that its strength is in its diversity, and not the exclusion of that difference.