Sen. Tom Cotton Launches Inquiry Into Lockheed Martin’s Alleged Race-Based Training

 

 

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton launched an inquiry into the nation’s largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, for allegedly hosting race-based training programs for white men only. 

In a letter to the President and CEO of Lockheed Martin, James Taiclet, Cotton described the training program for “white male executives” and asked the company to explain how its practices are not considered discriminatory. 

“The training, if it occurred, appears to violate the principle of equal treatment that is the bedrock of American law, including civil-rights law,” Cotton said. “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.’”

 

 

 

In the letter, Cotton cited a Trump administration’s Department of Education decision that dubbed racial “affinity groups” and training discriminatory because they treated students and staff differently based on their race. The Biden Education Department has since suspended this decision. 

“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,” Cotton said.  

Cotton’s letter asked Taiclet to explain how employees were selected to undergo the training, how many employees were subjected to the training, and if the training was mandatory or voluntary. 

The Daily Wire reported

Lockheed Martin began hosting “Effective Leadership of Inclusive Teams” training or “ELOIT” training, in 2007. According to the company’s 2018 Global Diversity and Inclusion report, ELOIT training “empowers white men to be full partners in the creation of inclusive work climates by exploring the systemic advantages of white men have and shining a light on some of the barriers women, minorities, and LGBTs face when fitting into a predominantly white male society.” 

ELOIT training is broken into three parts. The first part takes place over a three-and-a-half-day period called the “White Men’s Caucus.” White men learn how to “be grounded in their culture and to begin to understand their experiences are not the same as others.” 

The second part takes place over three and a half days in a portion called “White Men & Allies.” This section helps white men and their allies — including white women and people of color — to develop “partnerships across diversity boundaries.” Part three is a day and a half summit that helps white men “build awareness of U.S. white male cultures, its impact on Lockheed Martin and the role of white men in creating an inclusive organization; and help them take specific action.” 

In response to the reports, Lockheed Martin claims that the company consistently evaluates the effectiveness of its training programs. 

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