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AT&T Employee Training Program Says, ‘White People, You are the Problem’

An AT&T mobile phone store displays a “now hiring” sign in Tampa, Fla., June 1, 2021. (Octavio Jones/Reuters)

AT&T Corporation is putting its employees through a racial reeducation program that teaches that “American racism is a uniquely white trait” and tells white people that they are “the problem,” according to a new report. 

According to internal documents obtained by City Journal’s Christopher Rufo, the company implemented an initiative called the Listen Understand Act last year, which is based on the core principles of critical race theory, including intersectionality, systemic racism, white privilege and white fragility. The program peddles left-wing causes including reparations, defunding the police and transgender activism, according to Rufo.

 

CEO John Stankey has claimed that private corporations, including his own, have an “obligation to engage on this issue of racial injustice” and to advocate for “system reforms in police departments across the country.

A senior employee reportedly told Rufo that managers at the company now face annual assessments on diversity issues and are forced to participate in discussion groups, book clubs, mentorship programs and race reeducation exercises. 

White employees who are unwilling to admit to being complicit in “white privilege” and “systemic racism” can be penalized in their performance reviews. Additionally, those who refuse to sign a loyalty pledge to “keep pushing for change” and to set “intentions” such as “reading more about systemic racism” and “challenging others’ language that is hateful,” are considered “racist,” the employee told Rufo.

The program encourages employees to read an article titled, “White America, if you want to know who’s responsible for racism, look in the mirror.”

The article, written by Dahleen Glanton, says: “White people, you are the problem. Regardless of how much you say you detest racism, you are the sole reason it has flourished for centuries.” 

It adds that “American racism is a uniquely white trait” and that “Black people cannot be racist.”

The training encourages employees to undertake a “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Challenge” that calls on employees to “do one action [per day for 21 days] to further [their] understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity.”

It includes lessons on “whiteness” that teach that “white supremacy [is] baked into our country’s foundation” and that “Whiteness is one of the biggest and most long-running scams ever perpetrated.” The challenge adds that the “weaponization of whiteness” creates a “constant barrage of harm” for minorities.

The challenge also recommends that employees review articles and videos that advocate for a number of progressive causes and asks employees to “follow, quote, repost, and retweet” organizations such as the Transgender Training Institute and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

In a statement to National Review, an AT&T spokesperson called Rufo’s report “misleading” and said it is “filled with misinformation and inaccuracies, including the ridiculous claim that we require employees to participate in ‘race reeducation’ exercises.”

This is blatantly untrue,” the statement said. “We simply provide employees with resources they can use on a voluntary basis to facilitate conversations that are important to them, our customers and the communities we serve. Whether an employee uses these resources or not is up to them, and does not affect their annual performance rating. We have a long and proud history of valuing diversity, equality, and inclusion, and will continue to do so.”

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