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Letter: “Diversity training” is overtly racist and divisive

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com.

Dear Editor,

I am currently participating in “Diversity Training” at my workplace. This course is being taught by a well-respected woman; she is Harvard-educated, highly-recommended, and known for providing Intercultural Development Inventory assessments, as well as a diversity course for participants on a national platform. Racism is real and is an important topic we should be talking about. How we approach this must be a correct and appropriate path. However, the diversity class in which I am participating is a bad faith effort. I fear it is doing irreparable damage and will lead to more division and hate. This ideology is being brought into workplaces and into academia. This could prove very dangerous.

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This class has given me pause for several reasons, and the most important are book recommendations that are heavily pushed and are egregiously inappropriate. Our first required read is White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. This book is not only highly controversial, its premise is blatantly false. DiAngelo has been widely discredited, but White Fragility is being sold as a tool to guide us to understanding.

I have three major issues with this book: First, it is blatantly false. Second, DiAngelo is openly biased and manipulates readers with omissions; outdated research and, at best, contrived anecdotal stories; and inflammatory opinions. Lastly, she is driving a clear racist narrative that acts to divide and breed more hate… specifically race hate. White people are racists. Whiteness is a privilege. White equates to supremacy. White or a derivative thereof is mentioned 40 times just in the forward, as if to desensitize readers and prepare them for welcoming their guilt with open arms. Psychological warfare.

For twelve painful chapters, the reader is constantly reminded and taught all the ways white people are racists. We are sold a narrative that Republicans are bad… specifically naming President Donald J. Trump a racist. She illustrates this opinion with easily-discredited evidence. In response, I used a C-SPAN video to contradict her account; it seemed apparent that nobody else was interested in or cared to research this on their own. After all, “Orange man bad.” 

Since we are now only TWO months away from what is assuredly the most contested election of our history, this inflammatory narrative, predicated on severe falsehoods, leaves a very clear impression with readers. This is both reckless and irresponsible and, in my humble opinion, election tampering.

If you disagree with this narrative, the course teaches that you are ignorant and incapable of recognizing your own white privilege and racism… I, of course, just came across as rude and unprofessional. I can admit that after 168 pages of emotional abuse, this is most likely a very true statement.

Women are also singled out, with an entire chapter dedicated to “White Women’s Tears.” So as a woman, as a conservative, and as a “white”… I’m now automatically guilty of perpetrating crimes I did not commit.

Judgments are passed, and going forward, everyone who’s read this book will have feelings that are formulated and born from lies within her pages. How does this ideology bring people together? How does this break barriers and create an open and honest dialogue? It doesn’t… and it can’t. To overcome racism, we must be truthful, we must be honest, and we must above all demand a good faith approach.

In addition to this, we have now been asked to read Ibram X Kendi’s book, How To Be An Antiracist. This is the same Kendi who recently tweeted about Amy Coney Barrett, “Some white colonizers ‘adopted’ black children. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in ‘superior’ ways of white people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity.” (9/26/2020)

I am told to keep an open mind. I’m told to “give it a week” and give this new book a try. I’m told to look past the books and reach for the message. I am told the books shouldn’t represent the class… I’m told that the political bias in this book won’t change anyone’s mind since they have already been made up. But what if they weren’t? This class has a very real impact and makes very real impressions.

I challenge a class where opinions are formed on the basis of lies. We cannot have honest dialogue when ideas are predicated on propaganda. I’m confused about the goal of forcing employees to take “Diversity Training.” If the goal is to talk about racism and ways to combat it… why are the narratives centered around blatantly false information, and why does the course quite literally teach participants that being white equates to being a racist, at least according to the “unapologetic” DiAngelo? I have sent a copy of this letter to Governor DeSantis, imploring him to stop this practice at State agencies and universities.

We should be talking about racism, but we should NOT allow curricula that belittle and destroy meaningful pathways to overcoming this very real problem. One thing is correct, I am aggressively seeking to end this race hate narrative. It has no place within a peaceful community. I choose FACT over FICTION.

Sincerely, 
Concerned Citizen
Gainesville FL 

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