US President Donald Trump has ordered federal agencies to stop racial sensitivity training, labelling it “divisive, anti-American propaganda”.
A memo to government agencies says it has come to his attention that millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money have funded such “trainings”.
The document says these sessions only foster resentment in the workforce.
Mr Trump has previously said he does not believe systemic racism is a problem in the US.
The memo comes amid the social justice protests that have swept the nation in recent months.
Friday’s document is addressed to the heads of federal executive departments and agencies.
“All agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on ‘critical race theory,’ ‘white privilege,’ or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil,” it says.
The memo says that “according to press reports, employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ or where they are required to say that they ‘benefit from racism’.”
Again citing press reports, the text says that some of the training sessions “have further claimed that there is racism embedded in the belief that America is the land of opportunity or the belief that the most qualified person should receive a job.
“These types of ‘trainings’ not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce.”
It was not clear which reports Mr Vought was referring to or what prompted the memo. But such training sessions have been highlighted by the Discovery Institute, a conservative non-profit think tank based in Seattle.
Chris Rufo, one of its research fellows, told Fox News this week that the US Department of Treasury is among federal agencies that have hired such trainers.
Mr Rufo says his public records requests show these sessions have included teaching employees that white people uphold America’s system of racism, and sending white male executives to mandatory training in which they write letters of apology to minorities.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who will challenge Mr Trump for the White House in November, has vowed to fight systemic racism if elected.
“For generations, Americans who are black, brown, Native American, immigrant, haven’t always been fully included in our democracy or our economy,” the former vice-president said in July.