Walmart has stood by a diversity training that claims that White people have "internal racist conditioning," that Americans today are inheriting a racist legacy, and that ideas such as perfectionism, worship of the written word, individualism, and objectivity are aspects of "White supremacy culture" that "promote White supremacy thinking."
A civil rights veteran and a shareholder responded to the training with alarm, condemning it as "racist propaganda" and an insult comparable to the worst blackface act.
Yet Walmart stood by the training in a statement to FOX Business.
"Walmart began offering the Racial Equity Institute (REI) training sessions in 2018 for corporate leaders to share analysis and encourage reflection on the history of race in America as well as systemic racial inequity in its institutional and structural forms," Melissa Hill, a Walmart spokeswoman, told FOX Business. "While the company does not agree with all of the views that were presented, we have found these sessions to be thought provoking and constructive."
"Contrary to the assertions in the City Journal article, the program was designed for corporate officers and salaried managers, not frontline hourly associates," she told FOX Business. She acknowledged that Rufo's materials are an accurate representation of the trainings, but she also claimed that his article misrepresented their "overall tone."
"While the City Journal quotes excerpts from individual pages of the curriculum, the selected language doesn’t reflect the overall tone of the conversations," Hill insisted. She said the training "was developed in a way that aligns with our core value of respect for the individual."
The training materials Rufo published claim that citizens of the United States take part in a legacy of racial inequity.
"If you are a citizen of the United States, part of the legacy you have inherited is the historical, systematic, and pervasive way in which white race and the benefits, privilege and power for those who came to be known as white have been constructed in this country," the materials claim.
The materials claim that in order for "oppression" to succeed, "we must collude or cooperate." White people "cooperate" by following their "internal racist conditioning," which leads them to say, "I'm not racist, I'm a good White person."
One passage lists "characteristics" of "White supremacy culture," including "perfectionism," "worship of the written word," "individualism," and "objectivity." Among the problems with "objectivity," the document lists "the idea that there is such a thing as being objective or ‘neutral,’" and "requiring people to think in a linear (logical) fashion."
Civil rights veteran Bob Woodson, founder and president of The Woodson Center, condemned the training in an interview with FOX Business.
"It is the most insulting proposition that I ever heard," Woodson said of the suggestion that objectivity is an aspect of White supremacy culture. He noted that in vaudeville shows, "Whites used to caricature Blacks by putting on blackface and acting as if they are dimwitted, slow, irresponsible, all of the things that the progressives today say are the opposite of ‘acting White.'" He said the training encouraged insulting "stereotypes of what it means to be Black."
Woodson also mused about what Walmart stores would look like if they actually implemented a policy avoiding "White supremacy culture."
"If a customer asked for a cart, the employee would say, ‘If you had been here earlier, you would have gotten one.’ Because it’s White to be efficient and bring the carts back in," he explained. "Since being punctual is also White, half the employees would show up late and there’d be long lines in the checkout."
"What would happen to sales receipts if prices were not accurately marked?" Woodson asked, noting that correct prices are "a function of perfectionism."
"I don’t know how a black person could hold their head up and sit through someone saying this about them," Woodson added. "It is the height of insulting and if people do not express outrage at this insulting, demeaning, patronizing, approach of Walmart, then there’s something sick about them."
Justin Danhof, a Walmart shareholder through the National Center for Public Policy Research, also condemned the training.
"As a Walmart shareholder, I really want to know how much money the company is spending to indoctrinate its employees with this racist propaganda," Danhof told FOX Business. "I also want to know if Walmart staffers were given an opportunity to object to this madness without fear of reprisal."
"Telling company managers - in a mandatory training - that they are guilty of ‘white supremacy thinking’ is beyond insane," Danhof added. "But that's the exact state of play with corporate America as more and more companies adopt racist and Marxist training programs."