At least at Starbucks, you could choose not to have the conversation (lecture, actually) on race.
What choice do you have in this case, go to the beach instead?
A top U.S. Forest Service executive told his employees to probe their own “unconscious bias” on everything from race and sexuality to the disabled and fat people, asking them to use an unproven assessment tool to explore their feelings.
The online test, which Forest Management Director Bryan Rice urged other agency directors to use as well, specifically warns of problems when it is taken “outside of the safeguards of a research institution.” Users also are told to be careful about how far to go in interpreting the results.
Mr. Rice, in a March 11 email to his employees, also instructed them to read a New York Times piece titled “Straight talk for white men,” which argues that white men benefit from unconscious bias. He also shared a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that shows managers are more likely to hire those with a “very white sounding name” over those with a “very African American sounding name.”
In an email to The Washington Times, Mr. Rice said he believed the tests would help build a better workplace for his team.
“The intent of using the unconscious bias material is to assist with efforts to foster a work environment where everyone is respected and valued,” he said. “The unconscious bias material can help us explore diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It was included in a discussion of diversity as part of a continuous series of collaborative discussions on a variety of topics we have on my staff that cover key Forest Service policies and values as a means of fostering continued awareness.”
I’m sorry, which agency is this again? The U.S. Forest Service?
Like most of you, I’m sure, I oppose racism. Nasty business, no place for it. I’m just not sure I’ve ever encountered it in the woods. I mean, we have the White Mountains up in New Hampshire, but that’s only because they are actually kind of white (from mica in the granite). Anyone can go there. I’m sure the Great Smoky Mountains are similarly open to all, regardless of… well, open to all. Where, exactly, does bias, conscious or unconscious, enter into it?
One senior congressional aide said the Forest Service should have bigger things to worry about.
“At some point this year, thousands of Americans will have to flee their homes because of catastrophic wildfires caused by poorly managed Forest Service lands,” the aide said. “And when some of those people return to smoldering piles that were once their homes, they will be comforted that under this administration, the Forest Service has been vigilant in testing against unconscious biases.”
This is as absurd as NASA’s outreach to Muslims. Incongruous barely covers it: bizarre. Who thinks this stuff up?
Mr. Obama in 2011 signed an executive order calling on agencies to promote diversity, including specific plans for each agency.
Of course. Should have known. Happy Nowruz, sir.