President Biden reversed a Trump administration order that banned federal agencies, contractors, and any agency that receives federal funding from conducting certain types of diversity training. I can’t lie, even knowing we were in for a change, after the last four years I’m still not quite acclimated to the general lack of racist fuckery in the White House.
It’s a nice change of pace, I ain’t mad at it.
According to ABC News, the order was originally issued last September because the former president believed training that explored systemic racism and white privilege was “un-American.” I find it so confusing how Republicans keep saying “America isn’t a racist country,” while at the same time being like “OK, but being anti-racist is un-American.” Just make up your mind, goddamn.
The order placed a ban on training that implied anyone was racist “by virtue of his or her race, sex, and/or national origin.” Many civil rights groups found that the language in the order was overly broad and effectively shut down any attempt to address issues of white privilege and unconscious bias in the workplace.
Unsurprisingly, multiple lawsuits were filed against the order. In fact, the labor department had already suspended the order earlier this month due to a federal court in California granting a federal injunction against it in a suit filed by Lambda Legal. The NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund also filed a separate lawsuit against the order on behalf of the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance.
“In the few months of its existence, it negatively impacted the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans and advanced the dangerous cause of white supremacy and disinformation,” Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, told ABC News.
As Nelson noted, while it was short lived, the order did have an effect during the four months it was active. The Justice Department, State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs all had canceled various diversity and inclusion training programs.
SAGE, an organization that advocates for older LGBTQ people, said that the order resulted in the cancellation of a virtual seminar with Veterans Affairs about the discriminantion faced by older LGBTQ vets when they seek medical services.
So, I guess the mantra has officially shifted to: “Support the troops! But like only if they’re straight...and white...and preferably male.”
SAGE has said that as a result of the order being canceled they are now working with the VA to reschedule the seminar. Camilla Taylor, director of constitutional litigation at Lambda Legal, told ABC News that several of the organization’s clients have already begun reinstating diversity training within their workplaces.
Jin Hee Lee, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s senior deputy director of litigation, told ABC News that the organization still intends to move forward with their lawsuit for the moment. Lee said that they want to ensure that organizations don’t face punishment for any diversity practices they may have engaged in while the order was in effect.
“We will continue to work to ensure that all vestiges of President Trump’s Executive Order are removed from workplaces across the country,” Nelson said in a statement.