L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Announces ‘Implicit Bias’ Training for All City Employees

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LOS ANGELES, California — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday that the City of Los Angeles would require all employees to undergo “implicit bias” training as part of an effort to achieve “racial justice.”

Garcetti, speaking from Dodger Stadium at a press conference about the city’s coronavirus vaccination effort, said that the city would use “equity” in its distribution of vaccines, to prioritize minority communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

He then added that “in the midst of the clarion calls for racial justice that we saw in the streets of this country,” L.A. would require all city employees to undergo “anti-bias learning” and “mandatory implicit bias training” to help “dismantle racism for good.”

The City of Los Angeles currently employs more than 50,000 people.

Garcetti acknowledged that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) already conducts such training, but noted that it would be extended across all departments, on an annual basis.

In a separate press release, the city announced that it would be using a training program developed by Ohio State University:

An agreement was made with The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity to adopt its highly-regarded implicit bias training and adapt it for City staff.

The Kirwan training centers on three broad concepts: first, understanding implicit bias; second, recognizing our own biases; and third, mitigating the impact of negative bias, with a focus on identifying, understanding, and counteracting implicit bias on the individual level.

The program uses a combination of video, reading content, and interactive quizzes to help participants explore the historical, psychological, and institutional causes of implicit biases, along with how these long-standing structures directly affect the way people think and interact. Built into the training is the opportunity for each trainee to take the Harvard University Implicit Associations tests to learn of their own implicit biases.

“Racism is woven into the systems that define our daily lives and we must be relentless in rooting it out,” said Capri Maddox, Executive Director of the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, in the release.

The Kirwan training can be found here. It makes claims such as “research suggests that most Americans – regardless
of race – hold an anti-Black/pro-White implicit bias.”

Last year, President Donald Trump used an executive order to suspend racial bias training in the federal government that used “Critical Race Theory” as a basis, and forbade federal contractors from using such programs.

Critical Race Theory holds that racism is inherent in American institutions. “On a practical level, Critical Race Theory teaches that social interactions are guided by “white supremacy,” and that society is corrupted by “systemic racism,” according to which black Americans must always be victims — even if unconsciously so. Critical Race Theory is the ideology animating the Black Lives Matter movement that has brought unrest to America’s cities,” Breitbart News noted at the time.

President Joe Biden rescinded that order on his first day in office, citing the “unbearable human costs of systemic racism.”

In December, the United Kingdom ended a program of “unconscious bias training” for civil servants after finding that it did not work. The Harvard “implicit association tests” have also come under significant criticism.