Criticism of DEOMI last October involved a lesson on Power and Privilege, chapter EOAC-3000 of the Equal Opportunity Advisor Course student guide. The chapter emphasizes how “power and privilege can sometimes create exclusive work environments at the expense of others” and introduces students to the concept of white privilege. Two themes of that chapter deserve scrutiny. The first is that white males gain privileges and success through “unearned advantage.” The second is the assumption that “racism is everywhere.”Read the whole thing.
DEOMI defines white privilege as “the package of unearned advantages granted to those members of a diverse society with white skin.” Discussion of the concept explains that whites today benefit unfairly from historical institutional racism. By logical extension, that argument means whites—the text emphasizes white men—who achieve some level of status do so unfairly, suggesting their accomplishments are undeserved.
According to DEOMI, regardless of their socioeconomic starting point, intellectual capacity, or other factors affecting professional success, individual members of this group did not earn anything because they were unfairly advantaged by factors outside their control.
Likely anticipating controversy, DEOMI labeled the chapter on Power and Privilege with the phrases “FOR TRAINING PURPOSES ONLY” and “DO NOT USE ON THE JOB” [emphasis not added]. These phrases, which appear only once, will not prevent the concepts and conclusions from influencing equal opportunity advisers in the force. In fact, parts of the chapter are quite directive. One such area is a section detailing how advisers should seek to become a “strong white ally” so they can “increase their social, political, and economic power” as means for overcoming racism and discrimination. This is also where students are instructed to “assume racism is everywhere” while also being told to “attack the source of power” as a strategy for combating racism. These are not lessons intended for training purposes only; they are meant to shape adviser behaviors.
Instead of denigrating an entire population and teaching future equal-opportunity officers to assume the worst, we should honestly fulfill the dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Military professionals should “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
... We must not judge anyone by the real and perceived wrongdoing of previous generations simply because of shared traits. To do so is to say huge numbers of today’s leaders are illegitimate and our programs are undeniably biased. That borders on sedition. No wonder DEOMI caveated the chapter with such notices.
Bigots do walk among us, but more often than not they attend DEOMI classes, workshops, and are probably working in your EEO shop.
They are the only one we run in to that openly advocate for discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin. Sad thing is, they get rewarded for it too.