CDC Moving Ahead with Critical Race Theory Trainings Despite Trump Order

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. (Tami Chappell/Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appears to be moving forward with critical race theory trainings for employees despite an executive order from President Trump ordering federal agencies to end such taxpayer-funded training programs.

Trump issued an executive order earlier this month requiring federal agencies to “cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions” and directing the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance on implementing the order.

Nevertheless, the CDC is debuting a 13-week critical race theory program that aims to address the country’s “white supremacist ideology.”

The training series, dubbed “Naming, Measuring, and Addressing the Impacts of Racism on the Health and Well-Being of the Nation and the World,” will feature an American Public Health Association presentation from instructor Camara Phyllis Jones, a physician and civil rights activist.

The program will teach CDC employees how to “identify three levels of racism” and “examine the mechanisms of systemic racism.” The first three sessions focus on “racism, sexism, and other systems of structured inequality,” and instruct trainees how to “address institutionalized racism.”

Later sessions focus on “racism as a public health crisis.” The CDC blames “systemic racism” for “police killings of unarmed Black and Brown men and women” and the “view of Black men as inherently threatening” as well as “the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.”

The training sessions also advise CDC employees that they must “target” certain “societal barriers to achieving health equity” including a “narrow focus on the individual,” the “myth of American exceptionalism,” and the “myth of meritocracy,” defined as, “If you work hard you will make it.”

The final session in the training series encourages and instructs CDC employees to take action on racism, including on “policy and legislation.”

Last week, Republican Senator Josh Hawley called on Congress to investigate why federal agencies spent taxpayer dollars on critical race theory trainings, suggesting that in doing so the agencies may have violated federal law.

“I think that the president’s action here to stop funding is absolutely appropriate,” the Missouri senator said. “I personally wonder if there has been a federal law violation. It’s not clear to me that these agencies actually had authority under congressional appropriations to spend that money, the way that they were doing it. So, I really wonder if we got some federal legal issues.”