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The New Segregation


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City Journal

In the name of social justice, Seattle government agencies conduct employee training sessions separated by race.

Christopher F. Rufo

October 19, 2020

State-sponsored racial segregation in the United States ended with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but in Seattle, it has recently returned, and in an unlikely place: government agencies. According to new whistleblower documents, at least three public agencies in the Seattle region have implemented race-segregated diversity trainings that teach employees, in the words of one training manual, to “accept responsibility for their own racism” and “question the white power structure.”

At the King County Library System, a private consulting firm called Racial Equity Consultants recently held racially segregated “listening sessions.” The consultants “begin with an anti-oppression framework,” internal documents show, and they use segregated sessions to root out “institutional privileges and systemic inequities.” Widespread “institutional racism” is said to exist in the libraries, and employees who reject that premise are accused of “internalized racism.” When reached by e-mail, Racial Equity Consultants said that it was not authorized to comment.

At the Puget Sound facility of the federal Veterans Administration, local leadership has launched racially segregated “caucuses” for “individuals who identify as white” and those who identify as “African-American or black” or as “people of color.” According to whistleblower e-mails, the organizer, physician Jesse Markman, initially “felt uncomfortable suggesting, as a white person, what [he] perceived, at the time, to be segregation.” After consulting with outside diversity trainers, however, Markman decided to move forward with the racially segregated sessions, calling them “an environment for sharing and discussion, which is not afforded by mixed groups.” When contacted by e-mail, Markman referred the inquiry to the VA’s Public Affairs Office, which did not provide comment.

Finally, at the King County Prosecutor’s Office, chief prosecutor Dan Satterberg and senior staff have recently required employees to sign an “equity and social justice” pledge and assigned “continued training for white employees,” who must “do the work” to “learn the true history of racism in our country.” As part of the new initiative, whites are encouraged to participate in racially segregated “anti-racist action groups” and agency-wide “cultural-competency” training that teaches them how to adopt “a new non-oppressive and non-exploitive attitude.” According to a leaked memo, Satterberg recently wrote a letter to staff suggesting that the “privileged white male cohort” in his office should “shut up and listen.” The prosecutor’s office confirmed the authenticity of the equity pledge and staff-wide memo, but Satterberg did not offer comment.

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Some Things Never Change.

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