The City of Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights hosted a racially segregated employee training session for the city’s white staff last month to instruct them on how to address their inescapable complicity in a system of white supremacy, including ways to “undo their whiteness.”
City Journal Editor Christopher F. Rufo used public record requests to investigate what the two and a half hour session, titled “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness,” entailed.
What he found was a program designed for white people to better understand their “complicity in the system of white supremacy and interrupt racism in ways that are accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” The training was based on the idea that all white people have a natural “implicit bias,” for which they must actively reorient their mindset and actions to overcome.
The curriculum began with the basic instruction that white people have by virtue of their skin color, naturally internalized a sense of racial superiority. Rufo said this superiority, according to the programming, makes white people unable to act in a humane way, inevitably oppressing people of color.
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The training provided a list of qualities that they teach to be personal manifestations of internalized racial oppression. Ideas such as perfectionism, comfort, objectivity, individualism, intellectualization, and even silence are examples of internalized racial superiority. This results in internalized racial inferiority for all those who aren’t white, with examples ranging from apathy, addiction, and assimilation, to distancing, protectionism, and exaggerated visibility, according to the training.
To prevent any of the qualities taught to be caused by internalized racial oppression, white people must abandon all qualities considered to be an expression of their racial superiority.
“In conceptual terms, the city frames the discussion around the idea that black Americans are reducible to the essential quality of ‘blackness’ and white Americans are reducible to the essential quality of ‘whiteness’—that is, the new metaphysics of good and evil,” Rufo said.
The extent of how white people are unavoidably racist pervades so many natural human qualities that it includes opposing qualities. Rufo addressed the hypocrisy in a tweet:
Sometimes both sides of the coin are “oppression.”
Are white employees speaking too much? That’s probably the internalized racial superiority of “imposition” or “paternalism.”
Are white employees speaking too little? That’s oppression, too, because “silence” is “violence.”
— Christopher F. Rufo (@realchrisrufo) July 6, 2020
The training addresses who qualifies as “white” based on a data sheet, which concludes Arab, Jewish, Italians, Armenians and Irish are all guilty of their whiteness.
Trainers encouraged white employees to affirm their eternal complicity in furthering racial injustice and making strides to “undo your own whiteness.” Rufo said this requires letting go of racial barriers such as “comfort,” “physical safety,” “social status,” and “relationships with some other white people.”
The trainers also warned that white people should avoid “cultivating our own sense of balance, belief in self, coming from a place of wholeness and authenticity” and ordered them to not seek discussion with other white people who might agree with them or affirm their beliefs.
A flow chart distributed to participants outlines exactly how “white people keep the system going.” From justifying their superiority to using their self-righteousness and defensiveness to mask their guilt and shame, the system of white supremacy was taught to be endlessly perpetuated by white people.
According to a handout from the training, when a white person feels that other white people are angry at him, he has rid himself of white normative behaviors, he doesn’t fit in, and he hasn’t accepted any jobs or promotions, only then is he contributing to racial equality.
Rufo concluded his City Journal article with a final statement amplifying the power of the Seattle training and associated programs: “Skeptics might dismiss Seattle’s ‘interrupting whiteness’ training as a West Coast oddity, but it is part of a nationwide movement to make this kind of identity politics the foundation of our public discourse. It may be coming soon to a city or town near you.”