James Taiclet, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, confirmed in a letter to Sen. Tom Cotton on Tuesday that the company held a mandatory diversity training program for white male executives that drove attendees to label white men as “racist,” “privileged,” and “KKK,” and more than 1,000 employees have undergone similar training since 2007.
“On June 8-11, 2020, 13 Lockheed Martin employees attended a three-day training course, entitled ‘White Man’s Caucus’, which was administered by an outside vendor, White Men As Full Diversity Partners,” the CEO wrote in the letter obtained by journalist Christopher Rufo. “Since 2007, 1,024 Lockheed Martin employees have attended this type of training.”
In additional documents Rufo obtained and reported, Lockheed’s training outlined the “roots of white male culture” as consisting of traits like “rugged individualism,” “a can-do attitude,” “hard work,” “operating from principals,” and “striving towards success.” These traits are considered “devastating” to women and minorities, according to White Men As Full Diversity Partners founders Michael Welp and Bill Proudman, as Rufo reported.
According to the letter, the training course was part of a larger program called “Effective Leadership of Inclusive Teams.” Participants in other courses offered under the program include women and minorities, but the specific training group detailed in Taiclet’s letter was designed for “Caucasian male executive leaders based on level and position.”
The “White Man’s Caucus” training was required, Taiclet wrote, and was “preferably taken within three years of first joining the company or becoming a leader.”
Taiclet also claimed that the diversity training “fully complies with federal law including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex.”
“Lockheed Martin based no employment action on the training; no participant in the training was promoted, demoted, or terminated based on the training,” the letter stated.
Last week, Cotton sent a letter to Taiclet demanding information on the program. Based on a report by Rufo, the course asserted that white people are taught to “minimize the perspectives and powers of people of other races,” as well as being less likely to die during police interactions.
“The section on ‘male privilege’ lists the stereotypes that men are ‘not expected to be overly attentive or to wait on people.’ Facilitators allegedly encouraged Lockheed executives to ‘free associate’ stereotypes about various groups,” Cotton’s letter stated. “The stereotypes allegedly generated by your executives include that white men are ‘racist,’ ‘privileged,’ ‘set in their ways,’ and ‘KKK.’”
“This training, if it occurred, appears to violate the principle of equal treatment that is the bedrock of American law, including civil-rights law,” Cotton continued. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in particular forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of race and engaging in any activities that ‘limit, segregate, or classify [their] employees.’ The previous administration observed that the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating commonly found in these trainings ‘may contribute to a hostile work environment and give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’”