Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent a letter to the CEO of Lockheed Martin demanding to know if the defense contractor had allegedly forced White employees to undergo a “White male privilege” training program, the Daily Caller reports.
In the letter to CEO Jim Taiclet, Cotton referred to independent reports claiming that the company held an extended seminar called “White Men As Full Diversity Partners,” which lectured White male executives about their alleged “privilege” as White men, and asking them to “deconstruct” their privilege. The story was first broken last week by investigative journalist Christopher Rufo.
Cotton pointed out that such a training event would “violate the principle of equal treatment that is the bedrock of American law…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 employees.’”
According to reports, the seminar – hosted by a “diversity-consulting firm” and presented to 13 of Lockheed Martin’s executives – claimed that some of the connotations and synonyms for the term “White men” include “racist, privileged, anti-women, Aryan nation, and KKK,” among others. They also claimed that professional attributes such as a “can-do attitude” and “hard work” are unique to White men, and thus can be “devastating” to minorities.
The seminar also presented statements that they considered to be representative of “privileges” enjoyed by White people. Among them was the claim that “I can commit acts of terrorism, violence, or crime and not have it attributed to my race,” as well as “I can take and develop photos of my toddler at bath time without having my motivation questioned.”
Cotton’s letter further pointed out that such indoctrination efforts “may contribute to a hostile work environment and give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Cotton’s letter also drew attention to the fact that Lockheed Martin receives a significant amount of taxpayer funding; as the United States government is consistently the company’s biggest customer, it is possible that taxpayer dollars were used to fund this training seminar.