President Donald Trump issued an executive order in September to ban federal agencies and organizations that receive federal funding from conducting diversity training that includes racial sensitivity and critical race theory. After the executive order, the Office of Management and Budget called on federal agencies to review training materials that contain the terms unconscious bias, systemic racism, intersectionality and white privilege.
As a result, many companies, including those that promised to support racial justice after the killing of George Floyd, suspended their anti-bias training and their efforts to hire more people of color. They fear penalties for non-compliance, which include the loss of federal funding.
The Trump administration said recruiting and hiring more people of color is exclusionary. But hiring is necessarily exclusionary because the hiring of one person for a certain position means not choosing someone else.
Consider the case of Microsoft. The Labor Department warned that the company’s commitment to double the number of its Black leaders appears to imply that employment action may be taken on the basis of race. Does hiring a Black manager over a white manager constitute unfair discrimination? The representation of Black employees in Microsoft’s workforce increased only by 1.1% over the past five years, from 3.4% in 2015 to 4.5% in 2020. It means thousands of white candidates were selected over black applicants.