President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday preventing the federal government from using “Critical Race Theory” in diversity training — and preventing federal contractors from doing so as well.
“[I]t shall be the policy of the United States not to promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating in the Federal workforce or in the Uniformed Services, and not to allow grant funds to be used for these purposes. In addition, Federal contractors will not be permitted to inculcate such views in their employees,” the order says.
Critical Race Theory is the idea that the major institutions of the United States are tainted by slavery and racism because they were founded when slavery was still legal in parts of the country. According to the late Derrick Bell, who founded Critical Race Theory, the very institution of private property is tainted by racism because of slavery. Even the Civil Rights movement was regrettable to some extent, Bell believed, because it created an illusion of racial equality. Only a massive redistribution of wealth, driven by the creation of socioeconomic rights, can cure American society of its systemic racism, the theory holds.
On a practical level, Critical Race Theory teaches that social interactions are guided by “white supremacy,” and that society is corrupted by “systemic racism,” according to which black Americans must always be victims — even if unconsciously so. Critical Race Theory is the ideology animating the Black Lives Matter movement that has brought unrest to America’s cities.
Christopher Rufo, a contributing editor for the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, recently exposed the fact that some federal agencies were using Critical Race Theory in their diversity training. In response. President Trump ordered federal agencies to stop using the doctrine, and the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum ” directing all federal agencies “to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.”
Last week, President Trump announced the creation of a new “1776 Commission” to create a “patriotic” curriculum for students and push back against Critical Race Theory-inspired historical revisionism, such as the New York Times‘ recent Pulitzer Prize-winning (but factually challenged) “1619 Project.”
Trump’s new order expands the fight, banning private companies that have contracts with the federal government from using Critical Race Theory in their own diversity training. As Rufo notes, it could liberate many large corporations from a recent slew of attempts at indoctrination that have pushed radical left-wing books like White Fragility to the top of bestseller lists.
The point on federal contractors is a major escalation: if a private company wants to work with the US government, they can no longer teach critical race theory anywhere in their offices. This could potentially disrupt CRT programs in half of the Fortune 500. pic.twitter.com/HXCPAaxkyR
— Christopher F. Rufo (@realchrisrufo) September 22, 2020
The executive order explains:
From the battlefield of Gettysburg to the bus boycott in Montgomery and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, heroic Americans have valiantly risked their lives to ensure that their children would grow up in a Nation living out its creed, expressed in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Today, however, many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.
Such ideas may be fashionable in the academy, but they have no place in programs and activities supported by Federal taxpayer dollars. Research also suggests that blame-focused diversity training reinforces biases and decreases opportunities for minorities.
The order includes a provision that states:
If a contractor provides a training for agency employees relating to diversity or inclusion that teaches, advocates, or promotes the divisive concepts set forth in section 2(a) of this order, and such action is in violation of the applicable contract, the agency that contracted for such training shall evaluate whether to pursue debarment of that contractor, consistent with applicable law and regulations, and in consultation with the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee.
Andrew Breitbart was among the first to warn of the pernicious effects of Critical Race Theory in 2012.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.