Cotton Demands Answers Regarding Lockheed Martin Diversity Training
Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) wrote a letter to James Taiclet, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation, demanding information regarding a three-day diversity training reportedly held for white male executives in June 2020.
In part, Cotton wrote, “Facilitators allegedly encouraged Lockheed executives to ‘free associate’ stereotypes about various groups. The stereotypes allegedly generated by your executives include that white men are ‘racist,’ ‘privileged,’ ‘set in their ways,’ 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 continued.
Text of the letter may be found here or below.
June 2, 2021
Mr. James Taiclet
President and Chief Executive Officer
Lockheed Martin Corporation
6801 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817
Dear Mr. Taiclet,
In June 2020, Lockheed Martin reportedly held a three-day diversity training for white male executives, who were referred to during the program as the “White Men’s Caucus.” The alleged training was led by a group called White Men as Full Diversity Partners. Materials distributed by this organization include lists of stereotypes about the supposed “privilege” enjoyed by various groups, including white people, males, and heterosexuals. For example, the section on “white privilege” lists the stereotypes that whites are taught to “minimize the perspectives and powers of people of other races” and are less likely to die in interactions with police. The section on “male privilege” lists the stereotypes that men are “not expected to be overly attentive or to wait on people.” Facilitators allegedly encouraged Lockheed executives to “free associate” stereotypes about various groups. The stereotypes allegedly generated by your executives include that white men are “racist,” “privileged,” “set in their ways,” 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. 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.”
With these concerns in mind, please provide answers to the following questions by June 11, 2021:
1. Did this diversity training for Lockheed Martin executives take place as described?
2. How many Lockheed Martin employees have been subjected to this kind of training?
3. Did Lockheed Martin select employees to participate in this training? If yes, on what basis were they selected? Was this training given to employees who are not white men?
4.Was the training mandatory or voluntary? Were employees told they were allowed to opt out of the training?
5. Please list the vendors that Lockheed Martin employs to administer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainings to its employees and the materials distributed to participants in those trainings.
6. If it occurred, please explain how this training, which relies on stereotypes and appears to segregate employees on the basis of race and sex, complies with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.