Racism Made Easy To See (At Least Two Kinds)

“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. We can be proud that as an employer, the Federal government has
employees of all races, ethnicities, and religions. We can be proud that Americans from all over the country seek to join our workforce and dedicate themselves to public service. We can be proud of our continued efforts to welcome all individuals who seek to serve their fellow Americans as Federal employees. However, we cannot accept our employees receiving training that seeks to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.” —OMB memo Sep 4 2020

I paged through this recent tweet by the head of OMB in the US about how there will be a new push to remove HR programs that work to address unconscious bias:

The comment thread can be seen as one of two kinds of racism: 1/ real racism aimed at different people groups, or 2/ feelings of being persecuted for being in the majority and thus demanding for that feeling to stop — at the expense of the minority groups. Those in the latter category will always find it difficult to recognize that their pushing back on inclusion makes them forces of exclusion — which is ultimately a lesser, but in aggregate material, form of racism. However the spirit of the memo accurately describes the feeling that needs to be addressed as one of “resentment” towards such programs — which is definitely not racism. When it happens across many people however, it does become something more than just resentment, tho.

There is a Newsweek piece that singles out some of the issues in this direction.

I guess my first reaction is one of “Huh?!” And then I sit for a second, and then realize this is an incredibly clever way to throw gasoline on a conflict that drives people to action without strategy. It is that old movie trope of needing to focus and let your training take over (I saw Quantum of Solace and am channeling that a bit I guess) instead of letting your rage and feelings of revenge render you unsuccessful in tackling root cause.