‘You are the problem’: AT&T tells white staff they are racist, asks them to confess their ‘white privilege’ and to promote ‘Defund the Police as part of re-education program by CEO John Stankey
White employees of AT&T have been told to read an article saying that they are racist, are told to confess to their ‘white privilege’ and acknowledge ‘systemic racism,’ and must engage with set texts or else they will be penalized in their performance reviews.
John Stankey, who took over as CEO of AT&T in July 2020, has encouraged his staff to make use of an anti-racism education program entitled Listen Understand Act
AT&T, in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, introduced an internal program called Listen Understand Act.
John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T, wrote to the company’s 230,000 employees in an April 2021 email, obtained by journalist Christopher Rufo and published on his website.
Stankey, who took over as CEO in July 2020, urged his workers to make the most of the resources provided by AT&T’s anti-racism portal.
‘As individuals, we can make a difference by doing our part to advance racial equity and justice for all,’ he wrote.
‘If you are looking for tools to better educate and inform yourself on racial equality, resources are available at Listen. Understand. Act.
‘We also encourage you to actively participate in our recently launched Equality First learning experience, a new initiative to increase awareness and action around our value to Stand for Equality.’
Most employees are not forced to engage with the Listen Understand Act program, but managers at AT&T are now assessed annually on diversity issues – with mandatory participation in programs such as discussion groups, book clubs, mentorship programs, and race reeducation exercises, according to Rufo’s source.
AT&T’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, are pictured. The company has donated $21.5 million to causes working to enhance racial justice
The source told Rufo that employees are asked to sign a loyalty pledge to ‘keep pushing for change.’
They are encouraged to sign up to ‘intentions’ such as ‘reading more about systemic racism’ and ‘challenging others’ language that is hateful.’
The source, described as a senior employee, said: ‘If you don’t do it, you’re a racist.’
Rufo published several pages from the Listen Understand Act portal.
One of the recommended reading items was a May 31, 2020 article from the Chicago Tribune by columnist Dahleen Glanton, entitled: ‘White America, if you want to know who’s responsible for racism, look in the mirror.’
The portal also recommended books such as White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo, and White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, by Daniel Hill.
DiAngelo’s book was among those recommended to AT&T employees
In the ‘Act’ section of the training program, Rufo reported, AT&T encourages employees to participate in a ’21-Day Racial Equity Habit Challenge’.
The plan, he said, relies on the concepts of ‘whiteness,’ ‘white privilege,’ and ‘white supremacy’ and those participating must commit to ‘do one action [per day for 21 days] to further [their] understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity.’
The challenge begins with a series of lessons on ‘whiteness,’ which claims, among other things, that ‘white supremacy [is] baked into our country’s foundation,’ that ‘Whiteness is one of the biggest and most long-running scams ever perpetrated,’ and that the ‘weaponization of whiteness’ creates a ‘constant barrage of harm’ for minorities.
Participants are told: ‘Notice your biases and judgments as they arise. These are gold for you to excavate your subconscious!’
Among the suggestions are items such as: ‘Prepare yourself to interrupt racial jokes. Click HERE for some advice about how.’
The authors of the 21 Day Challenge state: ‘We think understanding white privilege is a powerful lens into the complexities of doing social justice work, so we’ve focused our resources on that specific issue.’
A man walks with an umbrella outside of AT&T corporate headquarters on March 13, 2020
AT&T is yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment about Rufo’s report, but has made no secret of its activist leanings.
On August 23, as part of a comprehensive review of corporate America’s anti-racist activities, The Washington Post reported that AT&T had made lobbying for police reform part of some of their employee’s job.
AT&T’s Western region president, Ken McNeely, told the paper that employees in the legislative and public affairs teams had the lobbying for police reform included in their annual review.
‘Our financial contributions to support police reform is but a slice of the pie,’ McNeely said, after the paper reported AT&T donated $21.5 million to causes advocating racial justice.
‘We actually took a more direct route: Filing testimony or a letter of support in our name — using our brand — is in many instances more impactful than giving money to a third party.’