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Judicial Watch: Fed Agency Documents Detail Supposed Discriminatory ‘Microaggressions’

(Washington, DC)Judicial Watch announced that it received 48 pages of records from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that included a PowerPoint presentation titled “Race and gender based microaggressions” that was used for training at the organization.

The documents were obtained in response to a January 27, 2021, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for:

  • All records of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) containing any of the following key words: ‘whiteness’; ‘unconscious bias’; ‘intersectionality’; ‘white privilege’; ‘Kendi’; ‘Robin DiAngelo’; ‘systemic racism’; ‘structural racism’; ‘close hold’; ‘climate justice’; or ’critical race theory’
  • All CFPB records instructing or suggesting that any individuals or groups of people are fundamentally privileged, oppressive, oppressed, racist, or evil on account of their race; and 3.
  • All CFPB records instructing or suggesting that America is a fundamentally racist or evil country. 

The new records include a presentation by the CFPB’s Director of the Office of Civil Rights Melissa Brand titled “Race and gender based microaggressions”

The “goals” of the presentation include:

To help you identify race and gender based microaggressions

To help you understand how microaggressions can turn into discrimination and/or unlawful harassment

To help you understand YOUR role in preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace

To help you know how to respond to these situations

A slide titled “Microaggressions” defines microaggressions as “verbal and nonverbal behaviors” that “communicate negative, hostile, and derogatory messages to people rooted in their marginalized group membership (based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, etc.)” The slide further notes that microaggressions can be “intentional or unintentional,” and are “more subtle” than “using racial epithets or displaying swastikas.”

Other slides discussing “Stereotypes lead to microaggressions,” begin with a warning to the viewer: “Trigger warning: the next slide contains images of offensive stereotypes.”

Cartoons are used to depict “offensive stereotypes,” which include people of color being offered various items such as: someone wearing a hoody and gold chain being offered sports balls; a hijab-wearing girl being offered a lit bomb and a picture of Osama bin Laden; a girl being offered a maid’s apron and a sombrero; a male being offered a guitar and a construction hat; a girl being handed a bottle of Aunt Jemimah syrup; and a girl being handed a spear, a teepee, and a Cleveland Indians baseball pennant.

A section titled “Common race-based microaggressions in the workplace,” depicts people saying various things, as well as what a minority “receives.”

For instance, white males are shown saying: “When I look at you, I don’t see color;” “There is only one race, the human race;” and “When it comes to race, I am colorblind.”

A female of color is shown to receive the message as: “Denying a person’s racial/ethnic experience;” “Assimilate to the dominant culture;” and “Denying the individual as a racial/cultural being.”

In another “microaggression” slide, a white male says: “All lives matter,” but a hijab-wearing girl supposedly perceives it as: “Ignoring systemic racism, such as in police interactions.” Additionally, a pink, protest hat-wearing woman says: “As a woman, I know what you go through as a racial minority,” from which the hijab-wearing girl perceives: “Your racial oppression is no different than my gender oppression.”

The presentation discusses “Two approaches to take when taking action” against microaggressions. One is to “disarm” the person: “If you choose to confront a microaggression, be prepared to disarm the person who committed it.” Also: “One reason we avoid conversations about race and gender discrimination is that they make people defensive. Perpetrators of microaggressions typically fear being perceived — or worse, revealed — as racist or sexist.”

The other approach is to “defy” and “challenge the perpetrator to clarify their statement or action.”

In a slide titled “What Can You Do?” about filing Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints, a line of business people is shown. They all have Xs over their images, except for a youthful white man with a broad smile on his face, who is singled out with a check-mark over his image.

In the appendix, slides are titled “Examples of racial microaggressions,” some examples cited include:

“Where are you from?”

“Where were you born?”

Asking an Asian American or Latino American to teach them words in their native

language.

“You are so articulate.”

“Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.”

Person of color is mistaken for a service worker.

College or university with buildings that are all named after ‘White’ [sic] heterosexual upper class males.

Overabundance of liquor stores in communities of color.

A section featuring “Examples of sex based microaggressions – aimed at females,” includes:

“Have you been working out? You look good!!”

“You have a doctorate?”

Male colleagues interrupt women at meetings.

“Federal Agencies shouldn’t abuse tax dollars for CRT indoctrination, which makes a mockery of serious race and sex discrimination issues,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This document from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows critical race theory is alive and well in the Biden administration.”

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