Today, civil rights groups — including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund — filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on the grounds that a Trump executive order violates free speech rights and will “undermine efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace.” The lawsuit follows opposition to the executive order from a range of groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as a federal agency’s recent intervention in a Microsoft diversity initiative launched amid calls for racial justice.
The executive order was part of the White House’s concerted attack on diversity training and critical race theory. Trump has called critical race theory “toxic propaganda” that will “destroy our country.” He also claimed that diversity training is designed to divide Americans and said students should instead receive a “patriotic education.” In early September, a Department of Labor memo directed federal agencies to cancel contracts with vendors that cover critical race theory or “white privilege” in their work, calling the intellectual movement “un-American” and “anti-American propaganda.”
And if you watched presidential debates between U.S. President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden, the words “artificial intelligence” or “tech” never came up, but the related subject of critical race theory did. During the debate, Trump reiterated his previous position, calling racial sensitivity training “racist” and claiming it teaches people to hate the United States. When given an opportunity to denounce racist views, he instead told the white supremacist group Proud Boys to “stand by.” Biden responded by calling Trump a racist and asserted that racial sensitivity training can make a big difference in fighting systemic racism.
The executive order, which Trump signed a week before the debate, threatened to cut federal funding to agencies and grant recipients that fail to comply. This led to confusion within