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Commentary By Christopher F. Rufo

Toddlers Are Racist … and Other Insights from Bank of America’s Woke Training

Culture Race, Critical Race Theory

In its very name, Bank of America claims to represent the US. Yet instead of promoting American ideals, the company's executives have adopted the radical, pseudoscientific concepts of critical race theory.

Bank of America Corp. has implemented a racial re-education program that claims the United States is a system of “white supremacy” and encourages employees to become “woke at work,” instructing white employees in particular to “decolonize your mind” and “cede power to people of color.”

This year, BOA executive Charles Bowman announced a new “equity” initiative called United in Action, in partnership with the United Way of Central Carolinas. According to documents I have reviewed, BOA executives launched the initiative by encouraging employees to participate in a 21-day race-training “challenge” funded in part by the bank and built on the principles of critical race theory.

On the program’s first day, Bank of America teaches employees that the United States is a “racialized society” that uses “race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, disenfranchisement and oppression.”

According to the training program, all whites — “regardless of one’s socioeconomic class background or other disadvantages” — are “living a life with white-skin privileges.” Even children are implicated in the system of white supremacy: According to the program materials, white toddlers “develop racial biases by ages 3 to 5” and “should be actively taught to recognize and reject the ‘smog’ of white privilege.”

Over the next three days, Bank of America immerses employees in full-spectrum CRT, not least framing all white people as oppressors and all racial minorities as irreproachable. “Racism in America idolizes white physical features and white values as supreme over those of others,” the program says. As a result of being part of the “dominant culture,” whites are more likely to “have more limited imagination,” “experience fear, anxiety, guilt or shame,” “contribute to racial tension, hatred and violence” and “react in broken ways.”

People of color, on the other hand, can’t be racist, because “racism is used to justify the position of the dominant group . . . and to uphold white supremacy and superiority.” Therefore, the discussion guide claims, “reverse racism and discrimination are not possible.”

On days five and six, the banking giant encourages white employees to confront their “white privilege” and “white fragility,” to “discover where [they] are on the privilege spectrum.” As part of the program, BOA employees take a series of diagnostic tests, in which they assess their racial and sexual identities, check a series of boxes to identify their “white privilege” and probe racist attitudes that could contribute to their “white fragility.”

In days seven through 16, BOA covers a laundry list of progressive concepts and policy priorities, including “microaggressions,” “racial trauma,” “the abolishment of the police,” “the school-to-prison pipeline” and “environmental justice.” The training program claims that racist microaggressions can contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder in black Americans and that “racism can be just as devastating as gunfire or sexual assault.”

America’s economy is described as a “caste system,” with “African-Americans kept exploited and geographically separate.” The American policing system, according to the materials, was founded on “slave patrols whose task was to capture, control and brutalize enslaved people” (an ahistorical falsehood); this system is “woven into the DNA” of US society and, according to the activists in the training module, can be solved only through “the defunding and even the abolishment of the police.”

In the program’s final days, BOA encourages employees to become “woke at work” and practice “ally-ship.” Participants must admit their “words and actions are inherently shaped and influenced by systemic oppression” and must commit to doing “the inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how [they] participate in oppressive systems.”

After they have addressed their complicity in racial oppression, employees are encouraged to engage in the actions of “building a race-equity culture” using a worksheet.

In its very name, Bank of America claims to represent the United States. Yet instead of promoting American ideals, the company’s executives have adopted the radical, pseudoscientific concepts of critical race theory. They are pushing intensely ideological messages on their employees, from race-based collective guilt to abolishing the police. Let the American public know and judge accordingly.


Christopher F. Rufo is a senior fellow and director of the Intiative on Critical Race Theory at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal.

This piece originally appeared in New York Post