Will the state’s new ‘anti-racism’ formation conflict with anti-discrimination law?

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New Hampshire will begin offering state employees “anti-racism” training later this month, but the content of that training is not yet available.

And nobody wants to talk about it either. Or whether content based on “anti-racism” theory will conflict with the state’s new anti-discrimination law.

“All executive branch employees are required to complete the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) ‘Respect and Civility in the Workplace’ training, which includes diversity training,” said Gail Crowdes, Programs Administrator. and DAS compliance with NHJournal. “DAS also offers an optional course called “Diversity and Inclusion: From Awareness to Action”. This course will be available mid-April 2022.”

The diversity course will be taught by Dr. Kasha Gordon, owner of Alabama-based Front Runner Leadership Training. Gordon signed a two-year contract with the state in February to provide leadership training and coaching to state employees. She is paid between $900 and $1,200 per class for online courses.

Gordon declined to discuss his offers when contacted.

A brief two-page “course syllabus” is available, listing study material and general objectives, one of which is, “Develop a strategy to improve your anti-racism practices, policies and procedures, and how to take immediate action to fix them.”

“Anti-racism” is a political ideology popularized by author Ibram X. Kendi based on the assumption that all white people are racist.

The new training follows an incident at the Concord office of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Police were called by DHHS and Department of Environmental Services employees in response to what they said was unruly behavior by Barry and Magalie Lawrence.

According to information from the Concord Monitor, the Lawrences came to the DHHS office to correct a problem with Magalie’s COVID-19 vaccination record. “The conversation got heated, no doubt,” Barry said. “They seemed quite dismissive.” The police were called and a state trooper responded. No arrests were made.

“It was a drop in the bucket just because of its nature,” said Magalie Lawrence. “It’s a daily life with small insults, microaggressions. It’s something that happens every day. »

In response, the activist group Change for Concord wrote a letter to the state agencies involved criticizing their handling of the incident and demanding action. The letter — signed by Clifton West of Black Lives Matter Seacoast and Siobhan Senier, chair of UNH’s Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, among others — argues that calling the police puts black lives at risk .

” The departments [DHHS] admitted that no existing policy governs when employees can call the police to intervene in interactions involving the public; they simply defer to the personal judgment of each employee,” they wrote. “Such a policy allows and ensures that race will not be controlled as a reason for employees to call the police on members of the public. By failing to properly respond to this incident, the state has confirmed that racial bias within its system is not only aware, but accepted and normalized.

Until that policy changes, they wrote, “we are very concerned that state offices and facilities are unsafe for people of color.”

It looks like they got some action.

DHHS and DES spokespersons said state employees will complete mandatory diversity training, organized by the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services, according to DES spokesperson Jim Martin and Jake Leon of the DHHS. The “Diversity and Inclusion” anti-racism training, on the other hand, will be optional.

Neither Gordon nor Crowdes responded whether the class was in compliance with the state’s new anti-discrimination law.

This law prohibits teaching that a group is inferior or superior to any other group on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed or sexual orientation. The law was enacted in response to concerns about critical race theory concepts being taught in schools and to teachers.

Last year, some Manchester School District employees were forced to take a ‘white privilege’ training course. Part of the training included a webinar titled “What Is White Privilege, Really?” in which the instructor told participants that the goal of the training was “to expand our definition of white privilege both personal and systemic, and to understand the function of whiteness as a pillar of supremacy and white powers”.

The warrant was dropped after NHJournal reported on the story.

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