Sen. Hawley Questions ‘White Privilege’ Training at US Nuclear Lab

August 20, 2020 Updated: August 20, 2020

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is seeking an explanation as to why the United States’ leading nuclear safety laboratory spent taxpayer dollars to lecture its staff about “white privilege.”

In an Aug. 13 letter (pdf) to the Department of Energy (DOE), the largest funder of the lab, Hawley called for “a comprehensive review of its procedures and practices to ensure that taxpayers are no longer required to fund such divisive and ineffective trainings.”

Hawley was referring to a series of training sessions that Sandia National Laboratories paid for at a Santa Fe, New Mexico, resort, where Sandia’s white male executives were sent last year to learn about their “white privilege” and the supposed harmfulness of their “white male culture.”

Leaked materials from the sessions were published earlier this month by Christopher Rufo, head of the Center on Wealth and Poverty at the Discovery Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank.

“Employees must expose the ‘roots of white male culture,’ which consists of ‘rugged individualism,’ ‘a can-do attitude,’ ‘hard work,’ and ‘striving towards success’—which sound good, but are in fact ‘devastating’ to women and POCs [people of color],” he said, citing the materials in an Aug. 12 tweet.

“Taxpayers funded this? At a resort?” Hawley responded on Twitter on the day of sending his letter.

Sandia, which is responsible for the safety of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, is run by Honeywell, but is wholly government-funded. It has received more than $3.7 billion in federal dollars this year, Hawley said.

Officials at Sandia redirected a request by The Epoch Times for comment to the DOE, which didn’t immediately respond.

Hawley asked the DOE to provide information on all “diversity, equity, and inclusion” training, including how much it’s spending and what materials are used.

“I fail to see how this fixation on the crudest imaginable gender and race stereotypes is productive or worthy of the expenditure of taxpayer dollars,” he said in an Aug. 14 release. “The focus on providing trainings specifically for ‘white men’ is similarly concerning: while the race of the various participants in these workshops is not altogether clear, the use of overtly race-segregated diversity trainings would likely violate federal civil rights law.”

He is seeking a response by Aug. 21; his office didn’t immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

Rufo has focused in recent months on gathering and publishing examples of critical race theory influence in government and affiliated entities. The theory is part of a broader ideology that reduces human history to a struggle between oppressors and the oppressed, where the former is comprised of heterosexual white males and the latter, to varying degrees, by all others.

The ideology’s theoretical underpinnings are Marxist, and its proponents advocate for dismantling the basis of Western civilization—the traditional family, traditional ethics, religion, and the current justice system—and replacing them with a socialist system, according to James Lindsay, co-author of “Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody.”

Rufo previously obtained materials from Oregon local governments that showed plans to abolish Seattle police, the city jail, and youth detention are rooted in the intersectional ideology.

In recent tweets, Rufo said he’s obtained further information showing the spread of critical race theory at Sandia.

“Multiple lab employees told me Sandia executives send them a constant barrage of critical race theory-inspired content, trainings, and documents—and demand that white males in particular confront their ‘microaggressions,’ ‘unconscious bias,’ and ‘white privilege,’” he said.

His sources allege that “white men are regularly denied promotions based on their race and gender,” he said. “In one instance, a senior engineer alleges that his colleague scored the highest in an official review, but was denied the job because of ‘diversity mandates.’”

“It’s time to expose this taxpayer-funded pseudoscience and rally the White House and legislators to stop these deeply divisive training sessions,” Rufo said in a tweet. “My goal is simple: we must pass legislation to ‘abolish critical race theory’ in the federal government. Let’s push as far as we can.”

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