This is a struggle for “narrative,” Attorney General William P. Barr argued in an interview with CNN when discussing systemic racism in law enforcement.
The memo, signed by White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Russell Vought and obtained by The Washington Post, clearly states that the order comes from President Trump, who has asked him to “prevent” federal agencies from spending millions of taxpayer dollars on the training sessions.
Vought added that the OMB would instruct federal agencies to submit a list of all contracts related to the training sessions involving “white privilege” or “critical race theory” and do everything within the law to cancel those contracts.
Released Friday, the memorandum appears to be a government strategy to reverse the narrative of protest in the streets, where movements like the Black Lives Matter denounce the systemic racism and deep social inequalities that prioritize white Americans’ rights.
In the memo, Vought writes that “it has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.”
For his part, President Trump expanded his view on Twitter, stating that “critical race theory is the greatest threat to western civilization and it’s made its way into the US federal government, the military, and the justice system.”
According to NPR, the racial sensitivity training protocol has been a mechanism in place for many years on college campuses and corporate America. Still, its operation in federal agencies is unknown.
These awareness practices have their origins in the civil rights movement and were part of the government’s response to street demonstrations.
As Diversity Officer Magazine recalls, early focus groups became a popular training method for bringing black and white Americans together in honest and emotional discussions about race relations.
In other words, it was an effort to recognize each other as equal human beings.
The largest diversity education experiment was conducted in the military. For years, it was used as a tool to debunk the myth of white supremacy and reduce rates of racism in the ranks.
Now, with the government’s decision to suspend this type of training, it is clear the Trump administration’s plans to play down the fight against racism, which it considers “a waste” of effort and money by the federal government.