Byron York's Daily Memo: Cotton pursues ‘woke’ Lockheed Martin

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COTTON PURSUES 'WOKE' LOCKHEED MARTIN. Republican Senator Tom Cotton is digging into a budding diversity training scandal at giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin. A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Cotton is encouraging Lockheed employees to tell Congress what is going on at compulsory sessions aimed at eliminating "white male culture" at the company.

Here's the story: Last month the Manhattan Institute's City Journal published an expose, "The Woke-Industrial Complex," reporting that last year Lockheed forced 13 white male executives to attend a three-day diversity training program at which they were told to repeat statements like, "My culture teaches me to minimize the perspectives and powers of people of other races," and "I can commit acts of terrorism, violence or crime and not have it attributed to my race," and "My earning potential is 15-33 percent higher than a woman's," and "My reproductive organs are not seen as the property of other men, the government, and/or even strangers because of my gender," and "I am not asked to think about why I am straight."

Only white males were required to attend. Author Christopher Rufo reported they included some of Lockheed's highest-ranking executives, including the officials in charge of the F-35 fighter jet program and the C-130 transport plane program. Lockheed hired a company called White Men As Full Diversity Partners to conduct the classes.

"The firm's training programs are designed to assist white men in discovering the 'roots of white male culture,'" Rufo wrote. "That culture, according to [the firm's founders] consists of traits -- such as 'rugged individualism,' 'a can-do attitude,' 'hard work,' 'operating from principles,' and 'striving towards success' -- which are superficially positive but are 'devastating to women and minorities."

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Is hard work a white male attribute? Tell that to the tens of millions of non-white Americans who work hard every day. Is ambition a white male attribute? Tell that to the same Americans who are hoping to move up on the job. Is operating from principles a white male attribute? The same. The diversity trainers seemed to focus on attributes that can help all Americans succeed, indeed are essential to success -- for everyone.

Cotton saw Lockheed's program as a possible violation of federal law. On June 2, he wrote to Lockheed's CEO, asking basic questions. Did this diversity training really happen? How many employees took part? Was it mandatory? Who was hired to conduct the training? And then: "Please explain how this training, which relies on stereotypes and appears to segregate employees on the basis of race and sex, complies with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act."

Lockheed's answers were disturbing. "For the specific training course referenced in your letter, the intended audience is is Caucasian male executive leaders based on level and position," Lockheed said. So in other words, it was specifically targeted at white males. Was it mandatory? "This training is required for leaders based on level and position," Lockheed said. So in other words, yes, it was mandatory. How many white male Lockheed employees have undergone the training? "Since 2007, 1,024 Lockheed Martin employees have attended this type of training," Lockheed said. In other words, a lot. And then, how does it comply with Title VII? The training "fully complies" with federal law, Lockheed said, insisting that it does not discriminate "on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex."

Cotton isn't buying it. Lockheed's claim that the training sessions do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or sex is simply not credible, he believes. Now, he wants more information -- not just from Lockheed but from its employees.

"Lockheed Martin's woke, discriminatory so-called training sessions were really more akin to struggle sessions from the Cultural Revolution," Cotton said in a text exchange Thursday. "Americans are fed up with woke HR staffers and CEOs. I encourage any employee at Lockheed -- or any other company dependent on military contracting -- to come forward and contact my office."

So this could be just the beginning. Lockheed executives now know that a member of the Armed Services Committee is on their case. Other defense contractors, too. We'll see what turns up.

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Original Author: Byron York

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