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The Intersectional Corporation
Raytheon adopts the principles of critical race theory and tells employees to identify their “privilege.”
Raytheon Technologies Corporation, the nation’s second-largest defense contractor, has launched an “anti-racism” program that promotes critical race theory, rejects the principle of “equality,” and instructs employees “identify [their] privilege”—or else.
Beginning last summer, Raytheon launched a critical race theory-inspired training program called Stronger Together, encouraging employees to “becom[e] an anti-racist today.” Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes supported the campaign by signing an Action for Diversity & Inclusion statement, promising to “promote diversity” and “cultivate meaningful change for our society,” then asking all Raytheon employees to sign the pledge and “check [their] own biases.”
Beneath the platitudes of these public statements, however, the Stronger Together program relies heavily on critical race theory and manipulative pedagogical techniques.
According a trove of documents and videos I have obtained from a corporate whistleblower, the program begins with a series of lessons on “intersectionality,” a core component of critical race theory, which posits that the world can be divided into competing identity groups, with race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories defining an individual’s place on the hierarchy of oppression.
In a workshop entitled “Developing Intersectional Allyship in the Workplace,” diversity trainer Rebecca York explained to Raytheon employees that critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw developed the concept of intersectionality to expose “interlocking systems of oppression” and “break down power into privilege and marginalization.”
In a related lesson, Raytheon asks white employees to deconstruct their identities and “identify [their] privilege.” The company argues that white, straight, Christian, able-bodied, English-speaking men are at the top of the intersectional hierarchy—and must work on “recognizing [their] privilege” and “step aside” in favor of other identity groups. Whites, according to outside diversity consultant Michelle Saahene, “have the privilege of individuality,” while minorities “don’t have that privilege.”
The program then tells white employees to adopt a new set of rules for interacting with their minority colleagues. Employees should “identify everyone’s race” during conversations, “including those who are White.” According to the document, white employees must “listen to the experiences” of “marginalized identities,” and should “give them the floor in meetings or on calls, even if it means silencing yourself to do so.” This process of voluntary racial silence is a “win-win,” because “you learn more when you listen than when you speak.”
Next, in a chart titled “What Not to Say to Your Black Colleagues Right Now,” Raytheon instructs white employees to never say that they “pray things change soon” or hope that social tensions “calm down,” which “says [their] comfort is more important than the message of anti-racism.” Whites should acknowledge that their own discomfort is only “a fraction” of the emotional distress of black employees, who are “exhausted, mentally drained, frustrated, stressed, barely sleeping, scared and overwhelmed.”
In order to further operationalize intersectionality theory within the company, Raytheon executives have created race- and identity-segregated groups, called Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), for Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, LGBTQ, and other groups. Ostensibly, the goal is to “advance an inclusive culture,” but in practice, so-called “affinity groups” often serve to create division and suspicion in the workplace.
Finally, Raytheon encourages white employees to “financially and verbally support pro-POC movements and POC-owned businesses.” In a collection of recommended resources, the company includes an article, “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice,” encouraging white employees to “defund the police,” “participate in reparations,” “decolonize your bookshelf,” and “join a local ‘white space.’” In another recommended resource, the “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge,” employees are asked to learn about the “weaponization of whiteness,” quantify the “racial composition” of their friend groups, and “interrupt the pattern of white silence.”
What is the end goal of this program? The rejection of the principle of equality under the law. In their toolkit, Raytheon explicitly instructs employees to oppose “equality,” defined as “treating each person the same … regardless of their differences,” and strive instead for “equity,” which “focuses on the equality of the outcome.” The company claims that the colorblind standard of “equal treatment and access to opportunities” is not enough; “anti-racist” policies must sometimes utilize unequal treatment to achieve equal outcomes.
For now, most Raytheon employees have remained silent, but there is growing discontent in the corporate headquarters. As one employee told me: “These are not those solutions. None of this is going to fix what’s going on. And in fact, much of it will just irritate and exacerbate.” Without a change in direction by executives, it seems likely that the problem will get worse.
Originally published at City Journal.