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Documents Reveal US Army Indoctrinated Soldiers on Dangers of ‘White Privilege’ 

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

‘Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual.’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the United States Department of the Army revealing that in April 2015, 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were subjected to a “white privilege” briefing, including a PowerPoint presentation instructing the attendees: “Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual …”

The slideshow also informed the soldiers: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity.  The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”

The Department of the Army documents were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:

Any and all materials used in an Equal Opportunity briefing provided on April 2, 2015, to the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, which included a discussion of “white privilege,” including but not limited to, handouts, PowerPoint presentations, audio/video tapes, course syllabi, and any recordings of the presentation itself.

The response to the Judicial Watch FOIA request included the entire Equal Opportunity Training PowerPoint presentation entitled “Power and Privilege,” which states:

Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.

Privilege has become one of those loaded words we need to reclaim so that we can use it to name and illuminate the truth

***

Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans or to how white privilege affects them. “To be white in American [sic] means not having to think about it” [Quotation not attributed]

***

Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual regardless of your social class.

***

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Imagine a school or a workplace where all kinds of people feel comfortable showing up. [sic] valued, accepted, supported, appreciated, respected, belonging. [sic] Something very powerful keeps this from us.

The truth of this powerful forces [sic] is everywhere, but we don’t know how to talk about it and so we act as though it doesn’t exist

The trouble we’re in privileges [sic] some groups at the expense of others.

It creates a yawning divide in levels of income, wealth, dignity, safety, health and quality of life.

It promotes fear, suspicion, discrimination, harassment, and violence.

***

Consider the “black woman” in Africa who has not experienced white racism and does not identify herself as a “black woman”.  African, a woman, but not black.

She only became “black” when she came to the U.S. where privilege is organized according to race, where she is assigned to a social category that bears that name and she is treated differently as a result. [Emphasis added]

***

The trouble we’re in can’t be solved unless the “privileged” make the problem of privilege their problem and do something about it.

The fact that it’s so easy for me and other people in dominant groups not to do this is the single most powerful barrier to change.

Though news of the indoctrination incident was briefly reported in Stars and Stripes shortly after it occurred, only one of the above slides previously has been made public.  Confronted with the information at the time, an Army spokesperson claimed the presentation was not officially sanctioned. Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. to Start Talks with Cuba to Normalize Full Diplomatic Relations, Open Embassy

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Steps to restore ties with Cuba are certain to meet resistance by some groups, particularly the Cuban community in South Florida that remain staunchly opposed to the communist leadership in Havana

Brian Murphy reports: The United States and Cuba will begin talks to normalize relations, including opening an embassy in Havana and putting to rest one most enduring Cold War standoffs, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

The landmark initiatives appeared to be set in motion by a surprise prisoner swap that freed American contractor Alan Gross after five years in custody in Cuba. In exchange, the United States would release three Cubans jailed for espionage, the Associated Press reported.

President Obama was expected to make a statement on Cuba at noon. At the same time, Cuban President Raul Castro was scheduled to address his nation about relations with the United States, Cuban state television reported.

Possible moves to close the rifts would mark a significant moment in Western Hemisphere politics.

The United State has maintain various sanctions against Cuba for more than five decades and enmity between Washington and Havana has played a role in affairs across the world — from snubs against the United States from Cuba’s allies in Latin America to the hero’s welcome given to then-President Fidel Castro during a visit to Tehran in 2001.

“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government.”

— Senator Marco Rubio

At the moment, the United States and Cuba do not have full diplomatic relations, but allow interest sections to handle outreach.

The U.S. official said Gross departed Cuba on a U.S. government plane earlier Wednesday. He was released on humanitarian grounds by the Cuban government at the request of the United States, the official said.

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The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

Gross, 65, was detained in December 2009 while setting up illegal Internet access as a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. It was his fifth trip to Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that bypassed local censorship. Read the rest of this entry »