The FBI now has its own version of Critical Race Theory (CRT) training called The Intersectionality Workshop. Journalist Christopher Rufo has written extensively on the subject of CRT and filed a FOIA request. Notably, some FBI agents engaged in political activity in 2020. During the George Floyd protests, an iconic photo of FBI agents kneeling in solidarity was circulated.
- Define "Intersectionality" and review the history of the term
- Reflect on identity and engage with our own intersections
- Discuss the role of intersectionality in our work
- Learn tips and tricks for increasing inclusion in the workplace
FBI Intersectionality Workshop
What is Intersectionality?
According to Womankind.org.uk:
"Put simply, intersectionality is the concept that all oppression is linked. More explicitly, the Oxford Dictionary defines intersectionality as "the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage". Intersectionality is the acknowledgment that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression and we must consider everything and anything that can marginalize people – gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc. First coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw back in 1989, intersectionality was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2015 with its importance increasingly being recognized in the world of women's rights."
Training Exercises For FBI Agents
The training walks agents through several exercises to help them identify the concepts and how they apply to their jobs and their lives. Questions used to provoke interaction and thought from the workshop are below:
- The part of my identity I am most aware of on a daily basis is:
- The part of my identity I am least aware of on a daily basis is:
- The part of my identity that was most emphasized or important in my family growing up was:
- The part of my identity that feels the most invisible to my colleagues is:
- The part of my identity that I wish I knew more about is:
- The part of my identity I believe is the most misunderstood by others is:
- The part of my identity that I feel is difficult to discuss with others who identify differently is:
- The part of my identity that I value the most or am most proud is:
The training emphasizes perspective-taking techniques, asking agents to respect others and "amplify other voices." The agents are asked to attend "parades" or cultural events with which they are not familiar. They are encouraged to hang up stock pictures of people with various identities and cultural backgrounds in the workplace.
Rufo's CRT tracker provides a comprehensive, updated review of CRT legislation both federally and by state to help make the public aware of actions that "prohibit public schools and state agencies from promoting race essentialism, collective guilt, and state-sanctioned racism."
As reported by UncoverDC, a letter written by the National School Board Association (NSBA) prompted a response in the form of a memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland. The NSBA letter states that parents' protests and speeches at school board meetings "could be equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism."
Garland's solution is to assign the FBI and numerous other federal and state agencies to take "measures designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel."
Garland may have a conflict of interest when it comes to rolling out CRT curricula in the schools. His son-in-law, Alexander "Xan" Tanner, is co-founder of a Big Tech company, Panorama Education, a firm that emphasizes Social Emotional Learning as a necessary piece of a well-rounded curriculum. Mark Zuckerberg has also been a generous donor to Panorama Education.
Panorama Education surveys are sent out to students to collect information on their feelings on a variety of subjects. One survey is called the "equity and inclusion survey."
According to Fox News, Panorama benefitted from coronavirus relief funds in Virginia's Fairfax County Public School district:
"Panorama's contract was part of a broader, $78.8 million investment of coronavirus relief that [Fairfax County Public Schools] (FCPS) directed towards a welcoming and culturally responsive environment for students. Its website explains that the funding is intended to support equity professional development for school teams, and social-emotional staff to work directly with departments and school-based teams."
A more detailed breakdown of FCPS' plan showed the majority ($46.2 million) designated for Intervention Special Education Teacher Contracts. But it also showed $2.2 million going toward Equity PD for School Teams and $140,115 toward Equity PD for Equity Leads—both apparently referring to professional development for staff and faculty."
Panorama also has its own version of intersectionality training geared toward schools. The slide show features using concepts of Social Emotional Learning to teach social justice or, as one slide says, "SEL is a vehicle to dismantle systemic oppression."
SEL as a vehicle for Social Justice/Panorama Education Slide Show
SEL/Social Justice Slide
Parents, however, are raising their voices, and in some cases, winning. A small group of Virginia parents won an important step in their process of removing Loudoun County School Board member Beth Barts, who has allegedly been both antagonistic and threatening because she disagrees with their stance on CRT in the schools there.
Social media has also exploded with mothers outraged with being called "domestic terrorists." The mothers say they are just doing what parents do: taking "serious responsibility for all that happens to their children when you declare a war on parents, you declare war on children."