Nessel urges Trump to rescind executive order banning diversity training order

Nov 9, 2020 at 12:40 pm
Attorney General Dana Nessel. - Michigan Attorney General's Office
Michigan Attorney General's Office
Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order banning federal contractors and grantees from offering workplace training on racial and gender biases.

The coalition of attorneys general is urging the federal government to expanding trainings intended to combat racial injustice.

"Whether this executive order intentionally means to prohibit implicit bias trainings for certain groups or not, there is at the very least a possibility for it to be interpreted as such,” Nessel said in a news release. “The order must be revised to state full support for the use of these trainings to avoid any confusion on the matter, and to continue the progress this country has made in ensuring those from diverse backgrounds and ideologies are not subjected to stereotyping or other harms in the workplace.”

Trump's executive order, which the coalition calls “vague and contradictory,” claims workplace diversity trainings teach “divisive” topics such as sex “stereotyping and scapegoating.”

The coalition says the order “gravely mischaracterizes how typical diversity and implicit bias trainings are conducted.”

In a letter to Trump, the coalition says inequality must be addressed head on.

“Equal justice under law will not be achieved until we acknowledge and reckon with the racial inequities that persist in our society,” the letter states. “The nationwide movement for racial justice has heightened awareness of not only how we treat each other as individuals, but also the role systems play in affording, or restraining, the advancement of particular groups. Our workplaces, public, private and non-profit, are grappling with how to become more inclusive and equitable. To that end, government should expand and increase its commitment to trainings centered on understanding and combating racial injustice. Now is the time for greater communication and support for diversity, equity and inclusion, not less.”

Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, Nessel proposed a series of initiatives intended to prevent police brutality, including implicit bias training. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also issued an executive order mandating implicit bias training for all state employees.

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