The Corner

USDA ‘Civil Rights Training’ Video Revealed


In response to a number of allegations of civil rights violations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack mandated in 2009 that all political appointees in the department attend government-sponsored, government-funded “civil rights training” sessions. The training was made available to other department employees as well. 

According to a memo circulated by Vilsack, the trainings were intended in part to “make USDA a model employer.”  

Newly disclosed video of one training session shows the diversity expert Samuel Betances — a self-described ”biracial, bicultural, and bilingual citizen of the world” — providing instruction in a course of revisionist history. 

“I want you to say that America was founded by outsiders. Say that,” Betances says. “Who are today’s insiders. Who are very nervous about today’s outsiders. I want you to say, ‘The Pilgrims were illegal aliens.’ Say, ‘The Pilgrims never gave their passports to the Indians.’”

The footage was intended to be confidential, according to Judicial Watch, the watchdog group whose Freedom of Information Act request resulted in the video’s release. The group points to an e-mail from USDA training administrator Vincent Loran in which he says that the footage “will not be used for or show [sic] in any way shape or form.” 

Video of the training session in its entirety is available here

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