Department of Justice suspends diversity and inclusion training for staff

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice this week suspended all diversity and inclusion training for its employees and managers, complying with President Trump’s recent executive order to eliminate any training suggesting that implicit racial and gender bias exists on the workplace, according to a note distributed to department leaders.

The guidelines, sent to Justice Department officials on Thursday, apparently go further than the President’s decree – which relates only to diversity training – to include work-related programs, activities and events that touch on diversity.

The memo, reviewed by The New York Times, said that managers should remove all mandatory training requirements related to diversity that have been assigned to employees from the department’s internal system, and they should suspend all related activities and events until ” that the documents can be approved by the Bureau of Personnel Management.

The Justice Department, which has more than 115,000 employees, did not respond to a request for comment. The tips were previously reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.

As the Nov. 3 election looms, Mr. Trump has waged a war on education and training courses that claim systemic racism exists and encourage employees to be aware of it, denouncing such ideas as part of it. ‘a radical liberal. agenda.

Last month, he said that school curricula that examined how racism had shaped the United States were spreading a false rhetoric that “America is a wicked and racist nation,” and he vowed to “restore the nation. ‘patriotic education in our schools’.

“Our young people will learn to love America,” said the president.

Days later, Mr. Trump signed an executive order to end the federal government’s use of traditional diversity and inclusion training, which supports the idea that people have unconscious biases around race and gender which can negatively affect the way employees are treated. These views have grown in popularity in American business and within the federal government, which has a long history of providing training to combat these biases.

In his executive order, the president said the idea was “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irreparably racist and sexist country,” and that it promotes “concepts that divide,” including the idea that races were valued differently, that the United States is inherently racist or sexist, and that individuals may subconsciously act in a racist or sexist manner.

Mr Trump’s executive order also said that no training should support the idea that a person “bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex” or that ” everyone should experience discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or gender. “

After the president signed the ordinance, the Bureau of Management and Budget and the Bureau of Personnel Management sent memos to administration officials, setting out preliminary guidelines on how they would do so. .

The ordinance immediately confused some agencies, who did not know how to best comply with it. It has also wreaked havoc on long-standing relationships with government contractors and internal federal government groups that run diversity trainings designed to tackle unconscious bias and promote gender and racial diversity on work place.

The order dovetailed with comments from Attorney General William P. Barr who suggest racism is not a large-scale problem in the United States.

He has publicly stated that he does not believe systemic racism exists within law enforcement, despite a recent spate of police killings and black shootings that have led to months of nationwide protests against racism. in the police.

Last month, he criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, which has played an important role in many protests, accusing those aligned with the movement of using blacks as props to advance a radical political agenda.

According to the Justice Department’s note, senior politicians should approve any future spending on diversity and inclusion training in advance.

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