Trump ban on diversity training unsuccessful

Rachel Badham December 29, 2020

LGBTQ+ activists are celebrating after a Trump order, which would prohibit certain forms of diversity training, was blocked by US district judge Beth Labson Freeman on December 22. Complaints were filed by various LGBTQ+ groups when the regulations, which would prohibit diversity training based on “divisive concepts such as critical race theory, white privilege, systemic racism, or implicit or unconscious bias”, were proposed, as it would hinder speech on systematic discrimination. Former president Donald Trump argued these ideas, such as the notion white people are collectively responsible for racial discrimination, were “grounded in misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world”.

According to USA Today, judge Freeman said the order could be blocked on basis it is unconstitutional in that it prevents free speech: “Plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success in proving violations of their constitutional rights…Moreover, as the government itself acknowledges, the work Plaintiffs perform is extremely important to historically underserved communities.” 

Dr Ward Carpenter of Los Angeles LGBT Centre responded to the court ruling, saying: “President Trump’s executive order struck at the very heart of our country’s core principles, limiting freedom of speech and curtailing efforts to explore root causes of inequality…We applaud the court’s decision to halt this mean-spirited and destructive executive order, and we look forward to a new administration that will actually support efforts to address systemic discrimination and promote equality.”

Attorney Avatara Smith-Carrington, who specialises in representing LGBTQ+ groups, also described the block as “wonderful news”, saying: “We cannot as a nation expect to work towards and achieve equality without first acknowledging and addressing the biases that are deeply rooted in the fabric of this nation.”