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LinkedIn yanks 'be less white' diversity training lesson following intense backlash

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Cause, meet effect

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LinkedIn has removed a training seminar from its site that encouraged attendees to "be less white."

What's a very brief history?

Coca-Cola came under fire earlier this week after a viral social media post purported that some Coca-Cola employees had completed a racial sensitivity seminar that encouraged its participants to "be less white" and "less oppressive."

The webinar was created by author Robin DiAngelo, who wrote "White Fragility."

A description of the course promised attendees that the training "gives you the vocabulary and practices you need to start confronting racism and unconscious bias at the individual level and throughout your organization. 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."

Elsewhere in the webinar, white participants were encouraged to be "less white, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant, and more humble."

Coca-Cola took major flak following the viral social media post, prompting a statement on the controversy.

The statement read, "The video circulating on social media is from a publicly available LinkedIn Learning series and is 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 on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will continue to refine this curriculum."

What are the details?

Earlier this week, LinkedIn announced that it would no longer host the webinar on its site.

Nicole Leverich, vice president of corporate communications at LinkedIn, told Newsweek in a statement that the site provides a "wide variety of learning content, including more than 270 courses on the topic of diversity, inclusion, and belonging."

"The Confronting Racism course featuring Robin DiAngelo is no longer available in our course library, at the request of the 3rd party content provider we licensed this content from," Leverich added.

"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 vowed.

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