A “Confronting Racism” training seminar was recently removed from the professional social media platform Linkedin after whistle-blowers from Coca-Cola shared screenshots using the online course that was asking staff members to “be less white” and “less oppressive.” The training’s entire title is “Confronting Racism: Understanding What It means to White, Challenging what it means to be racist.” In other words, being white means being racist.
The course featured interviews with Robin DiAngelo, author of the best-selling book “White Fragility,” and PowerPoint presentation slides that claimed white people in the U.S and other Western nations are socialized to feel they are “inherently superior” because of their skin color. She offers no scholarly support in her claims, one of which reads “research shows that by the ages of 3 to 4 children understand that it is better to be white.” The slides also encouraged employees to “be less defensive” and to just “believe.” Whatever that means.
The training included videos that talked about establishing “cross-racial discussions” and “monthly affinity groups” to establish a set of organizational practices that confront racism and create an ongoing professional development.
A Coca-Cola spokesman said the seminar was not a part of the company’s learning curriculum, but “was offered” to employees as part of a broader training on diversity, equity, and inclusion. They released a statement saying the video was from a publicly available LinkedIn Learning series and was not a focus of our company’s curriculum.
“Our Better Together global learning curriculum is part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace. It is comprised of a number of short vignettes, each a few minutes long. The training includes access to LinkedIn Learning on a variety of topics, including diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will continue to refine this curriculum,” the statement reads.
Nicole Leverich, the vice president of corporate communications at LinkedIn, issued a statement that the Confronting Racism course featuring Robin DiAngelo was no longer available in the course library “at the request of the 3rd party content provider we licensed this content from.” “We will continue to add new courses to help people learn the skills they need to be more successful in their career, including the foundational skills we all need to be effective allies and help build a more equitable future,” Leverich added.
In a description of the course, it talks about giving staff members the “vocabulary and practices” they need to start confronting racism and unconscious bias in their workplace. “There’s no magic recipe for building an inclusive workplace. It’s a process that needs to involve people of color, and that needs to go on for as long as your company’s in business. But with these tools at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way,” it reads.
I miss the old days when we had seminars for things like improving customer service and setting new sales goals. https://t.co/XoXANpqdmg
— American Conservatives (@AmConservatives) February 27, 2021