AT&T — the world's largest telecommunications company — offers an employee training program that teaches premises such as "American racism is a uniquely white trait" and "white people, you are the problem," according to a new report. AT&T has disputed some of the claims in the report, and dismissed it as "misleading."
According to internal documents obtained by journalist Christopher F. Rufo, AT&T launched an initiative called "Listen Understand Act" last year that is "based on the core principles of critical race theory, including 'intersectionality,' 'systemic racism,' 'white privilege,' and 'white fragility.'"
A senior AT&T employee, who spoke to Rufo on the condition of anonymity, said managers at the company now face annual assessments on diversity issues, and there is "mandatory participation" in "race reeducation exercises." The source allegedly told Rufo that white employees are "expected to confess their complicity in 'white privilege' and 'systemic racism,' or they will be penalized in their performance reviews."
The initiative encourages employees to read a Chicago Tribune article written by Dahleen Glanton that 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."
"American racism is a uniquely white trait," the article states. "Black people cannot be racist toward you. Racism, by definition, is 'prejudice, discrimination or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.' Black people cannot exude a sense of superiority that we have never experienced."
Glanton claims that white people "enjoy the opportunities and privileges that white supremacy" provides them.
The program urges employees to participate in the "21-Day Racial Equity Habit Challenge" that instructs people to "do one action to further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity."
Eddie Moore, Jr, director of the Privilege Institute and the National White Privilege Conference, is credited with creating the "21-Day Racial Equity Habit Challenge." Moore recommends reading articles such as: "The Case for Reparations," The Weaponization of Whiteness in Schools," and "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack." The challenge suggests websites such as the Antiracism Center, the Transgender Training Institute, and National Center for Transgender Equality.
An AT&T spokesperson called the report "misleading," and told the New York Post that City Journal's report 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 rep 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."