On September 22, President Donald Trump made the executive order on combatting race and sex stereotyping, specifically at the federal level in federal contracting and the federal workforce.
“Today, however, many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual,” President Trump stated in the executive order. “This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.”
This executive order not only eliminates training that has created race and sex stereotyping but race and sex scapegoating. Race and sex scapegoating occur when the claim – whether it is consciously or not – states that due to a person’s race or sex, they are inherently racist or sexist or inclined to oppress others.
As stated in the executive order, agencies, uniformed services, federal contractors and their subcontractors and federal grant recipients should continue diversity training, as long as it does not violate race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.
“Training employees to create an inclusive workplace is appropriate and beneficial,” the executive order stated. “The Federal Government is, and must always be, committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals before the law.”
“We want to be inclusive and it just doesn’t always happen because people do bring their own biases and their experiences into whatever it is, the workplace and in their practices,” said Geraldine Hayes Nelson, President of the Portage County chapter of the NAACP.
Hayes Nelson continued to explain how the NAACP works to address racism or injustice to promote an equitable and fair community for all people. In order to make America great, we have to be inclusive and continue to learn to be more inclusive.
As of October 5, the University of Iowa made the decision to pause all of their diversity and inclusion training for two weeks in order to ensure that they were not violating the order.
Currently, University President Todd Diacon has made the commitment to continue with the work that was already being done. While the work continues, the diversity training done will also be examined.
“I don’t feel that the work that we do at Kent State does race or sex stereotyping,” said Amoaba Gooden, Interim Vice President for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
At the Kent State level, there are multiple different forms of diversity work being done at the different centers on campus, whether that be from Student Affairs, the Women’s Center, the Center for Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services, the LGBTQ+ Center, Multicultural Center and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
In addition to the diversity work done at each of the centers, every college has a diversity officer that does some of the diversity work.
At Kent State, diversity training will continue to encourage inclusivity, equity and diversity, especially while the University President’s cabinet works to make sure all of the training is done follows the executive order.
“It’s coming at a time where there is heightened awareness around equity and racial equity in particular, and institutions of higher learning and organizations are really taking a critical look at the way in which their sights and places could be more equitable,” Gooden said.