Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is demanding answers from aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin over reports that it sent its executive-level employees to learn about privileges they supposedly have as straight white males.
According to documents obtained by City Journal’s Christopher Rufo, Lockheed Martin, known for developing America’s next-generation warplanes, held a three-day training session on Zoom last June for a 13-member “White Men’s Caucus.”
The session was reportedly led by the consulting firm White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP), and started with a “free association” in which the term “white men” was associated with “old,” “racist,” “privileged,” “anti-women,” “angry,” “guilty,” “Aryan Nation,” and “KKK.”
“This training, if it occurred, appears to violate the principle of equal treatment that is the bedrock of American law, including civil-rights law,” Cotton wrote in a letter to Lockheed Martin CEO James Taiclet.
“Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in particular forbids employers from discriminating on the basis of race and engaging in any activities that ‘limit, segregate, or classify [their] employees.’ The previous administration observed that the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating commonly found in these trainings ‘may contribute to a hostile work environment and give rise to potential liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,’” the letter added.
The 13 participants reportedly included Glenn David Woods, the vice president of production at Lockheed for the Air Force’s $1.7 trillion F-35 fighter jet program; Aaron Huckaby, director of global supply chain operations; Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. David Starr, director of the Hercules C-130 transport aircraft program; and Ret. Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, vice president of sustainment operations.
The employees were allegedly asked to recite a series of “white privilege statements” that supposedly described privileges they possess but are not necessarily aware of, including: “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,” and “I can have friendships with or work around children without being accused of recruiting or molesting them.”
Cotton asked Taiclet how many Lockheed Martin employees participated in the session, how they were selected to take part, and whether the training was mandatory. The Arkansas senator also asked Lockheed Martin to explain how its practices are not considered discriminatory.
In a statement released shortly after Rufo published his report, a Lockheed spokesperson said the company “has robust employee training programs focused on our core values of doing what is right, respecting others, and performing with excellence.”
“Like many corporations, we employ multiple vendors and continuously evaluate the effectiveness of training programs to ensure they are aligned with our values, applicable laws, and regulations, and incorporate employee feedback and best practices,” the statement reads.
The controversy around race-centered training gained national attention in 2020, when former President Donald Trump banned the use of training materials based on “divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies” in federal agencies and federal contractors like Lockheed Martin. President Joe Biden removed the ban upon his inauguration, instead issuing an order stating that his administration would pursue “a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all.”
Lockheed Martin did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
Cotton gave Taiclet a June 11 deadline to provide answers to his questions.
GQ Pan contributed to this report.