SAN DIEGO — San Diego County subjected hundreds of staff to race relations training that depicted the Republican Party as racist.
More than 400 healthcare workers participated in a three-day online critical race theory class that depicted the United States as a racist nation with “white supremacy codified into our nation.” The Washington Examiner reviewed the 82-slide PowerPoint presentation along with the contract that paid $25,050 to instructor Reginald Caldwell, described in the document as “an experienced facilitator with expertise in this area.”
The presentation included a photograph of a recent rally where people were holding American flags and a sign that said, “Republicans United for Peace and Prosperity.” The photo was placed next to an image of a Ku Klux Klan rally and underneath photos of racist Jim Crow-era signs and a swath of Confederate flags. The four images were on the third page in a series with headlines that said, “Racism started when the puritans landed in America,” “Our ‘Founding Fathers,’” and “…and it CONTINUED AND CONTINUES.”
Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow who worked on tort reform and civil justice issues in the private sector for more than a decade, told the Washington Examiner that the content was not only “racist stereotyping” but may also have violated a federal law prohibiting engaging in political activity while on the job at a government entity.
“Apart from the absolutely horrendous racist stereotyping that this training is just completely full of, to the extent that any such training engages in partisan attacks, if they are getting federal funding this is a violation of the Hatch Act,” he said.
The Hatch Act prohibits on-the-job partisan expenditures and activities by federal employees or agencies and, by extension, municipalities that receive federal funding. The county of San Diego receives hundreds of millions of dollars in federal healthcare funding on a continuous basis, including $388 million last year for the COVID-19 vaccination and treatment campaign.
“This is partisan activity. This training is full of racism, and they can’t even get basic facts right,” von Spakovsky said. “I am shocked at this kind of racist stereotype training is being conducted. It is no different than the type of things we were being taught in the 1920s. All they did is reverse the races.”
The county’s training is a thinly veiled message that Republicans are bad, said Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee chairman from California.
“You shouldn’t vote Republican because they are a bunch of racists,” he said of the message. “It opens up the county to a harassment lawsuit, and it’s a hostile work environment. Any employee could sue the county for racial tensions.”
Although the training was targeted to the county’s Health & Human Services Agency, only a few of the slides were geared toward health. One slide states:
“White Privilege in Motherhood Looks Like:
· Being offered pain medication
· No one asking who the father is
· People not judging your financial status”
Some slides made political statements such as “Black Lives Matter” and contained a photograph of a George Floyd memorial. Most, however, had statements such as America “created a hierarchy with all whites at the top” or some variation.
One slide said: “If you are descendant of enslavers, if you are the descendant of colonizers, if you are the descendant of those who have caused massive harm, your assignment, your ancestral task is to heal your ancestral line.”
San Diego County spokeswoman Sarah Sweeney said the contract was funded by the Kresge Foundation, and “no funds from any other source were utilized.”
The Kresge Foundation has expressed concerns that racism is a barrier toward obtaining quality healthcare for all. Sweeney also said the photo with the Republican sign was not a Republican rally but was rather lifted from a Wall Street Journal article about extremist groups. The people in the photo were attending a reopen Michigan rally on April 30 to protest a yearlong lockdown.
“This was an optional training for employees, so all who attended elected to take it,” Sweeney added.
“When your job tells you to attend a training, it’s inferred that it is mandatory,” DeMaio said. “I think they are just trying to get out of this. As for the photograph, why not use a picture of antifa burning down one of the many black businesses in Minneapolis last summer?”
The same employee later told the Washington Examiner that the training was required and called it offensive.
“Reggie explains in the class that, ‘Only white people can be racist, no other BIPOC’s (Black, Indian, and people of color) can be racist,’” the employee said.
Critical race theory started as a movement in the 1980s and posits that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and something white people use to their advantage, according to Britannica. Training for the concept has been expanding across the country, including in the federal government and in schools.