American Express Teaches Its Employees That Saying ‘Everyone Can Succeed Through Hard Work’ Is A Microaggression

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Font Size:

American Express distributed handouts to its employees detailing microaggressions to avoid, ways to understand one’s privilege and tips on how to “be an ally,” reveal whistleblower documents posted Wednesday and obtained by journalist Christopher Rufo.

One of the materials tells the credit card company’s employees to “identify the privileges and advantages” they have before standing up for others. The employees were also advised not to speak over their black and African-American co-workers and refrain from giving “unsolicited advice” or making assumptions when listening to others’ stories.

Another handout from the same series lists a number of common phrases, calling them “microaggressions” towards members of minority groups.

Saying things like, “I don’t see color,” “we are all human being,” “you’re so articulate” and “everyone can succeed in this society if they work hard enough” in conversation with black and African-American individuals would qualify one as a “microaggressor,” the handout states. (RELATED: Inside Google’s Microaggressions Newsletter: Pronoun Problems, Soy Police, And A Deaf Person Told To Watch Her ‘Tone’)

Additionally, the corporation — which reported a $2.3 billion profit last quarter — hosted Harvard professor Khalil Muhammad who lectured on “race in corporate America.” The lecturer claimed that capitalism was predicated on “racist logics and forms of domination” which have shaped the Western world since the Industrial Revolution, according to The New York Post.

“American Express has to do its own digging about how it sits in relationship to this history of racial capitalism,” Muhammad reportedly said. “You are complicit in giving privileges in one community against the other, under the pretext that we live in a meritocratic system where the market judges everyone the same.”