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Home/Rod Dreher/Systemic Racism At Wells Fargo & Microsoft

Systemic Racism At Wells Fargo & Microsoft

Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf (Reuters screengrab)

Here’s a letter the US Labor Department sent to Wells Fargo recently. (I had to screenshot it in parts, which is why it’s broken up here):


The Labor Department sent a similar letter to Microsoft:

There is no chance at all that a Biden administration Labor Department would investigate major corporations for anti-white discrimination. Keep that in mind. Naturally, there has been negative press coverage. For example:

Samuel Bagenstos, a law professor at the University of Michigan who served in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Barack Obama, called the Labor Department’s letters “a perversion of what they were set up to do.”

“If you look at what Microsoft says it’s doing, they’re making sure that they have a sufficient pipeline of people, so that when it comes time to make promotion decisions, they’re not arbitrarily excluding African Americans and minorities from management positions,” Bagenstos said.

Bagenstos, who served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she sat on the Supreme Court, said that’s what the law requires.

“I think the best way to think about this is another one of those Trump culture war acts that are being taken right before the election,” he said.

Bull. Here is a link to the letter from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to the company’s employees that drew the Labor Department’s attention. Excerpt:

Bagenstos is flat-out misrepresenting what Microsoft says. Nadella didn’t say that Microsoft will attempt to do that; he said that Microsoft will do that. You can only double the number of blacks at the company through discriminatory hiring and firing. If you are white, Asian, or Hispanic, and work at Microsoft, you will not have the same chance at promotion, or perhaps you will even have to be laid off to make room for black managers. How can non-black Microsoft employees, or those who aspire to work at Microsoft, possibly have confidence that they will be treated fairly?

And look, this is typical of how the Left handles things: if you raise an objection to this phony “diversity” stuff, then if you aren’t a bigot, then you are at least engaged in “culture war” nonsense.

Bloomberg’s biased report on this investigation features condemnation of the Trump administration for the Labor Department inquiry, but nowhere quotes from the actual Microsoft statement that triggered it. If all you knew about the investigation was what Bloomberg reported, you would have no idea that Microsoft actually appears to be intending to discriminate against non-black employees. Woke Capitalism and Woke Media are all committed to defending the Narrative, no matter what.

The Labor Department’s letter to Wells Fargo announcing the investigation says it was triggered by this June statement by the bank’s CEO Charles Scharf. Excerpt:

How is this not evidence of structural racism? How is Wells Fargo going to double black leadership in five years without actively hiring and firing people on the basis of race? Senior leaders are incentivized to hire based on race (“improving diverse representation”), or lose compensation.

According to theorists of “antiracism” like Ibram X. Kendi, any time you see fewer blacks within an institution (unless we are talking about professional sports, I suppose), that is conclusive evidence of racism. Racial discrimination is the only explanation. It could not possibly be that, for example, fewer blacks chose to study finance (Wells Fargo), tech (Microsoft) or in related fields that would have brought them into the workplace at those particular companies. Only racism explains it. As Kendi writes in his megaselling book How To Be Antiracist:

Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing. Here’s an example of racial inequity: 71 percent of White families lived in owner-occupied homes in 2014, compared to 45 percent of Latinx families and 41 percent of Black families. Racial equity is when two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing. An example of racial equity would be if there were relatively equitable percentages of all three racial groups living in owner-occupied homes in the forties, seventies, or, better, nineties.

A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.

More:

The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.

This is what Microsoft apparently believes. This is what Wells Fargo apparently believes. This is what they are committed to doing: discriminating against non-black employees to fit this ideological idea of antiracism.

The Trump Administration is calling them out for it, and forcing them through this investigation to explain how their intention to discriminate against non-blacks in hiring and promotion is legal.

This is one reason why elections matter. The corporate elites under Woke Capitalism are committed to  implementing systemic anti-white, anti-Asian, anti-Latino racism in the workplace. They are bigots — but they’re bigots for the Left, so it’s okay.

Interestingly, the Wells Fargo CEO got in trouble recently:

Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf apologized Wednesday for comments he made suggesting it is difficult to find qualified Black executives in the financial industry.

Scharf said in a memo to employees “there is a very limited pool of Black talent to recruit from” in corporate America. The memo was written in June, but became public only this week.

The comments and similar statements made in a Zoom meeting, reported by Reuters, led to an intense backlash in Washington and on social media.

“Perhaps it is the CEO of Wells Fargo who lacks the talent to recruit Black workers,” said Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, on Twitter.

Scharf on Wednesday said in a prepared statement that his comments reflected “my own unconscious bias.”

What if Scharf was right? What if there really is a lack of qualified black executives in the financial industry? What if Scharf was telling an ideologically inconvenient truth? How can we know? A decade or so ago, when I was working in newspaper journalism, media managers were constantly trying to hire black and Latino journalists, but there were so few qualified ones. There could be any number of reasons for that, but it was the truth (maybe things have changed over the last decade since I worked in the MSM). I saw personally how hard media managers worked to find qualified minority journalists. The friends and colleagues I had within the industry took this very seriously, and genuinely agonized over it. But you cannot force people to go to journalism school, any more than you can force them to study finance. The world is not a machine.

The entire corporate field of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” and most especially the word “antiracist,” depend on the falsification of language. If the ideologues are going to get people to accept their schemes against their own interests, and against the interests of fairness and justice, they often have to lie about what they’re doing through the manipulation of language. Here’s a passage from Live Not By Lies in which a Polish historian, Pawel Skibinski, tells me that the postcommunist generation is particularly vulnerable to this:

Skibiński focuses on language as a preserver of cultural memory. We know that communists forbade people to talk about history in unapproved ways. This is a tactic today’s progressives use as well, especially within universities.

What is harder for contemporary people to appreciate is how we are repeating the Marxist habit of falsifying language, hollowing out familiar words and replacing them with a new, highly ideological meaning. Propaganda not only changes the way we think about politics and contemporary life but it also conditions what a culture judges worth remembering.

I mention the way liberals today deploy neutral-sounding, or even positive, words like dialogue and tolerance to disarm and ultimately defeat unaware conservatives. And they imbue other words and phrases—hierarchy, for example, or traditional family—with negative connotations.

Recalling life under communism, the professor continues, “The people who lived only within such a linguistic sphere, who didn’t know any other way to speak, they could really start believing in this way of using words. If a word carries with it negative baggage, it becomes impossible to have a discussion about the phenomenon.”

Teaching current generations of college students who grew up in the postcommunist era is challenging
because they do not have a natural immunity to the ideological abuse of language. “For me, it’s obvious. I remember this false use of language. But for our students, it’s impossible to understand.”

Every manager or employee at Wells Fargo and Microsoft who does not believe in the new ideology — who thinks it is unjust, or harmful to the company’s business — will have to live by lies if they want to keep their job. The only force powerful enough to hold these powerful Woke Capitalists accountable for unjust and discriminatory employment practices is the federal government.

For as long as it is willing to do so, anyway.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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