- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member has urged Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to end her city’s Whites-only diversity training program, saying it likely violates federal prohibitions on segregating employees by race.

Commissioner Peter Kirsanow said the “Internalized Racial Superiority for white people” program developed by the Seattle Office of Civil Rights may run afoul of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars separating employees by race in a way that adversely affects their workplace status.

“This is nothing more than singling out people of a particular race as class enemies and forcing them to abase themselves before the reigning orthodoxy,” Mr. Kirsanow said in a Tuesday letter. “In the old days, we called this totalitarianism. More simply, idiocy. I urge you to end such trainings immediately.”

The curriculum lists traits associated with “[h]ow white people internalize the system of white supremacy,” including “perfectionism,” “individualism,” “control,” “violence,” “comfort,” “objectivity,” and “anti-blackness.”

“What is Seattle doing here? Playing Mad-Libs?” Mr. Kirsanow asked. “There is no way that separating white employees from other employees and telling them that this grab-bag of characteristics are inherent to white people and are bad (and therefore, that they have these characteristics and are bad) does not adversely affect their status in the eyes of their coworkers.”

The training documents and PowerPoint were obtained in July by Christopher F. Rufo, the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth & Poverty. He said the materials “induct white employees into the cult of critical race theory.”

DOCUMENT: Letter to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

“Under the banner of ‘antiracism,’ Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights is now explicitly endorsing principles of segregationism, group-based guilt, and race essentialism — ugly concepts that should have been left behind a century ago,” Mr. Rufo said in a July 29 post.

A Seattle official defended the curriculum in July, telling KOMO-TV that such “race-based caucusing” has been “a part of the City of Seattle’s workplace culture for a long time.”

The curriculum also asks employees to answer questions such as, “How are you aware of the ways that your family benefits economically from the system of white supremacy even as it directly and violently harms Black people and non-Black people of color and Indigenous people?”

Mr. Kirsanow said the questions “are of the ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ variety.”

“Again, how can this not encourage non-white employees to be biased against and perhaps even racially harass white employees under the guise of ‘challenging your relationship to race and racism’?” he asked in the letter.

Mr. Kirsanow, a Republican appointee, made it clear he was speaking for himself and not the entire commission.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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