Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest and most prominent defense contractor, reportedly had white male executives undergo a diversity training program last year intended to help them atone for their "white male privilege," according to filmmaker and journalist Christopher Rufo.
During the three-day program, the group of 13 senior Lockheed executives participated in a series of exercises aimed at deconstructing their "privilege" by awakening them to the harmful impact they have on women and minority individuals by virtue of their ethnicity and gender.
The program, conducted by a diversity-consulting firm known as White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP), began with a "free association" exercise during which the participants were encouraged to list connotations often associated with white men.
During that exercise, the executives listed several negative terms such as "old," "racist," "privileged," "anti-women," "angry," "Aryan Nation," "KKK," "founding fathers," "guns," "guilty," "conservative," and "good old boys network" in addition to a handful of positive terms like "fathers," "educated" and "hard working," documents obtained by Rufo show.
According to the participants, these overwhelmingly negative perceptions about white men lead to assumptions that they "are the problem," "are arrogant," "can't lead diversity," and "don't want to give away ... or lose power."
In his report, Rufo noted that a set of related resources used by WMFDP shows the firm espouses a troubling view of privilege. The firm's training programs reportedly assess that the "roots of white male culture" consists of traits — such as "rugged individualism," "a can-do attitude," "hard work," "operating from principles," and "striving toward success" — which may seem positive but are actually "devastating" to women and minorities.
In subsequent sessions of the Lockheed training, participants were encouraged to acknowledge their privilege in a series of statements, which included "My culture teaches me to minimize the perspectives and powers of people of other races"; "I can commit acts of terrorism, violence or crime and not have it attributed to my race"; "My earning potential is 15%-33% higher than a woman's"; and "My reproductive organs are not seen as the property of other men, the government, and/or even strangers because of my gender."
Finally, participants were asked to read a series of "I'm Tired" statements meant to convey their "devastating" impact on others. The statements included "I'm tired of you making more money than me"; "I'm tired of people disparaging our campaigns (like Black Lives Matter)"; "I am tired of people who assume I'm taking a white person's job, and that I should go back to Mexico"; and "I'm tired of seeing you get offered opportunities that I don't get offered."
Rufo noted that WMFDP has conducted other controversial diversity training programs in the past, such as with Sandia National Laboratories, a company that designs America's nuclear weapons.
During former President Donald Trump's term, he issued an executive order banning racial stereotyping, scapegoating, and discrimination in federal diversity programs. But that order was rescinded on President Joe Biden's first day in office.