The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) faced a wave of criticism and backlash on Twitter after it shared a video depicting an employee discussing sexual and racial identity while using common “woke” buzzwords.
The video is part of a collection on YouTube entitled “Working at CIA,” and focuses on an unnamed CIA employee who identifies as a “woman of color.” The employee’s testimony touches on intersectionality and patriarchy while wearing a shirt depicting a raised fist and a feminist symbol.
“I am a woman of color, I am a mom, I am a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder,” the employee says in the video. “I am intersectional but my existence is not a box-checking exercise.” (RELATED: Trump Agency Pushes Gender-Neutral Pronouns On Employees, Instructs Them On ‘Gender Spectrum,’ Leaked Docs Show)
The employee also says she struggled with “imposter syndrome” because of expectations set by the patriarchy.
“At 36, I refuse to internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be,” she says. “I am tired of feeling like I’m supposed to apologize for the space I occupy rather than intoxicate people with my effort, my brilliance.”
“I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are. Whether you work at #CIA, or anywhere else in the world.
Command your space. Mija, you are worth it.”
— CIA (@CIA) April 28, 2021
Twitter users responded to the tweet by criticizing the CIA, most often for the perceived irony of such testimony coming from one of America’s most powerful and feared institutions. (RELATED: Former CIA Director John Brennan Says He Is ‘Increasingly Embarrassed To Be A White Male These Days’)
If they’re going to start doing satire I’ll start organising coups https://t.co/S8878mho2R
— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) May 3, 2021
Intersectional imperialism. It was promised and here it is. https://t.co/M0ZODlPTrV
— Damien Gayle (@damiengayle) May 3, 2021
These fuckers are now using * Zora Neale Hurston * to recruit
(by the way, if this ad doesn’t show the hollowness of langauge in and of itself as a means of liberation, I don’t know what will) https://t.co/wXu0DEXdZh
— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) May 3, 2021
— Vijay Prashad (@vijayprashad) May 2, 2021
“I am intersectional” — an actual line in CIA recruitment video. Would encourage watching. https://t.co/kTvR6hg356
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) May 2, 2021
The @CIA‘s empowerment of women and minorities–especially those whose families are from Latin America, where the agency wrought so much, er, empowerment of authoritarianism–is pretty fucking weird. https://t.co/kyRE9tDWHU
— Nick Gillespie (@nickgillespie) May 1, 2021
Now you know who wokeness really supports. https://t.co/tM6PPvzOp2
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) May 1, 2021
This is the kind of tweet I would compose if I was making a parody account, lol. https://t.co/5na8u78xe3
— Rani Baker, Write Break To Address $400C-$400F ???? (@destroyed4com4t) May 3, 2021
Other videos in the series invoke similar themes. In another video, a woman alludes to the CIA’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
“It is not enough to just say that the CIA values people from diverse backgrounds and diverse abilities. We have to challenge ourselves to commit to regularly questioning ‘how do our actions actually embody those values?’”
The woman in the video says that the CIA has people who recognize “societal issues” and are “holding CIA as an institution accountable for the diversity and inclusion it champions.”