VA’s Race-Based Training Draws Scrutiny for Excluding White Vets

( – Until a few years ago nobody outside of academia had ever heard of DEI. Every day more people are encountering the term for the first time. With progressives championing it, and conservatives condemning it some may still be left wonder what it is.

DEI is an acronym that stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. While diversity and inclusion may seem straightforward, outside of financial records most people have never encountered the term equity. Although many mistake it for a synonym for equality, it is better understood in its original form. Equity refers to having an equal share. In the context of DEI, it means investing whatever it takes to ensure that all the various groups that make up the world end up with equal outcomes.

For many, offering special opportunities for members of some groups while explicitly denying them to other groups is just simple discrimination. However, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, which is entrusted to offer services to America’s veterans is now infused with DEI programs. VA services around the country are now offering race-based programs for “veterans of color”. Many are explicitly focused on race, such as the race-based stress/trauma support groups in Battle Creek, Michigan and Long Beach, California.

While the groups tend to advertise that they are intended to empower veterans of color and foster a sense of belonging, some have criticized them for their extreme political bias. Under an executive order by President Biden in June 2021, these programs are explicitly intended to present an extremist view of America. All the programs, per the order, are to train participants to see America as a country full of systemic and institutional racism. They are also to include training in unconscious bias and microaggressions. Unconscious bias training has been widely debunked with study after study showing it worsens relations in every context.

Push back against divisive and discriminatory DEI programs is rising almost daily. Conservative lawmakers have been introducing legislation across the country to limit or dismantle DEI initiatives. Companies, such as IBM’s Redhat, that have special opportunities or programs where white, Asian or male applicants were expressly excluded are facing lawsuits. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer faced scrutiny over a discriminatory fellowship program, and then quietly removed the racial restrictions. VA officials have recently been seen on podcasts bragging about their racially exclusive programs, but it may be a matter of time before they also have to face lawsuits for their discriminatory practices.

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