Arguments will continue to rage over whether President Trump is constitutionally permitted on his own to spend money to build the wall on our southern border, to fund measures addressing the effects of COVID-19 or to manage federal immigration policies. However, there is one order the president could give that is clearly within his authority to manage the executive branch he heads, and which is entirely consistent with the no-nonsense management style that has characterized his time in office: direct all federal departments, offices, and agencies to immediately stop sending employees to “critical race theory” training, also known as “white privilege” reeducation programs.
While descriptions of critical race theory training have surfaced recently in the wake of racially motivated or racially excused rioting, training which teaches federal employees that “white privilege” and “racism” are systemic diseases that define American society, have been around for decades. It is long past time that such wasteful spending stop.
It is difficult to place an accurate figure on how much taxpayer money is spent each year on these programs by federal agencies and by non-governmental entities receiving federal dollars, such as the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, but it is in the millions of dollars. Numerous self-styled experts in “white privilege” have reaped lucrative incomes from such lecturing. Just one of these charlatans, Howard Ross, reportedly billed the federal government $3 million in just one year. Robin DiAngelo, the best-selling author of “White Fragility,” reportedly charges $40,000 to share her “expertise” for just half a day.
Just what taxpayers get in return, other than lectures on the evils of “hard work” and “rugged individualism,” is difficult to discern; but two threshold questions emerge as to why Uncle Sam should be lecturing public employees that the very qualities that have made America the sole superpower on the planet are now considered toxic.
First, why has the Trump administration not put a stop already to such expenditures? As the head of the Executive Branch, the president could certainly order that federal employees will no longer be sent to such reeducation programs, and that outside entities receiving federal dollars will no longer be permitted to use those monies for such nonsense. That Trump has not done so until now is strange, but it certainly is not too late to so order, and the timing appears perfect for such a move.
The second, and more troubling question is, why would grown men willingly participate in such demeaning programs that belittle them because of their race and their gender? For example, in a recently reported training program exclusively for senior-level white male employees at Sandia Laboratories, participants were made to attend sessions in which they were insulted for being white males and forced to write apologies to women and people of color for this sin. Similar programs have been documented as being conducted at other federal agencies, including the Treasury Department.
That grown men, especially those who enjoyed seniority in their jobs at a prestigious scientific laboratory (one that developed the atomic bomb that ended World War II), would submit to such ignominy reveals the extent to which the notion of “white guilt” has infected our culture. This destructive concept has embedded itself so deeply that it now is undermining the race-neutral principle of merit-based advancement that has for more than two centuries served as the fuel for American preeminence in fields including science, technology, transportation, and economics.
Even if Trump were to sign an executive order ending all federal expenditures for critical race theory training, legislation would be necessary to ensure its permanence. With the Democrat Party now led by a standard bearer who openly advocates that an individual’s race and gender counts for more than ability, and with the House of Representatives in the hands of that same Party (and likely to remain so at least through the next biennium), such nonsense as “white fragility” reeducation programs are not likely to disappear quickly; though by any rational measure they should.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 and served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He now serves as President of the Law Enforcement Education Foundation based in Atlanta, Georgia.