Bank of Amerika
The financial giant teaches that the United States is a system of “white supremacy” and encourages employees to become “woke at work.”
Bank of America Corporation has implemented a racial reeducation program that claims the United States is a system of “white supremacy” and encourages employees to become “woke at work,” instructing white employees in particular to “decolonize [their] mind[s]” and “cede power to people of color.”
Earlier this year, Bank of America’s North Carolina and Charlotte market president Charles Bowman announced a new “equity” initiative called United in Action, in partnership with the United Way of Central Carolinas. According to documents I have obtained from a whistleblower, BOA executives launched the initiative by encouraging employees to participate in their “Racial Equity 21-Day Challenge,” a race-training program funded in part by the bank and built on the principles of critical race theory, including intersectionality, white privilege, white fragility, and systemic racism.
On the program’s first day, Bank of America teaches employees that the United States is a “racialized society” that “use[s] race to establish and justify systems of power, privilege, disenfranchisement, and oppression,” which “give[s] privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to people of color.” According to the training program, all whites—“regardless of one’s socioeconomic class background or other disadvantages”—are “living a life with white skin privileges.” Even children are implicated in the system of white supremacy: according to the program materials, white toddlers “develop racial biases by ages three to five” and “should be actively taught to recognize and reject the ‘smog’ of white privilege.”
Over the next three days, Bank of America teaches employees about intersectionality, unconscious bias, microaggressions, and systemic racism. “Racism in America idolizes White physical features and White values as supreme over those of others,” the program asserts. As a result of being part of the “dominant culture,” whites are more likely to “have more limited imagination,” “experience fear, anxiety, guilt, or shame,” “contribute to racial tension, hatred, and violence in our homes, communities, and world,” and, subsequently, “react in broken ways as a result.” People of color, on the other hand, cannot be racist, because “racism is used to justify the position of the dominant group . . . and to uphold white supremacy and superiority.” Therefore, the discussion guide claims, “reverse racism and discrimination are not possible.”
On days five and six, Bank of America encourages white employees to confront their “white privilege” and “white fragility,” in order to “discover where [they] are on the privilege spectrum” and “if [they] exhibit ‘white fragility’ traits.” As part of the program, Bank of America employees take a series of diagnostic tests, in which they assess their racial and sexual identities, check a series of boxes to identify their “white privilege,” and probe racist attitudes that could contribute to their “white fragility.”
In days seven through sixteen, Bank of America covers a laundry list of progressive concepts and policy priorities, including “microaggressions,” “racial trauma,” “the abolishment of the police,” “the school-to-prison pipeline,” and “environmental justice.” The training program claims that racist microaggressions can contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder in black Americans and that “racism can be just as devastating as gunfire or sexual assault.” America’s economy is described as a “caste system” with “African Americans kept exploited and geographically separate.” The American policing system, according to the materials, was founded on “slave patrols whose task was to capture, control, and brutalized enslaved people”; this system is “woven into the DNA” of American society and, according to the activists in the training module, can be solved only through “the defunding and even the abolishment of the police.”
In the program’s final days, BOA encourages employees to become “woke at work” and practice “allyship.” Participants must admit that “[their] words and actions are inherently shaped and influenced by systemic oppression” and must commit to doing “the inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how [they] participate in oppressive systems.” After they have addressed their complicity in racial oppression, employees are encouraged to engage in the actions of “building a race equity culture.” A worksheet provides specific instructions, including: “decolonize your mind”; “accept that white supremacy and institutional racism are real”; “challenge white dominant cultural norms”; and “cede power to people of color.”
In its very name, the Bank of America Corporation claims to represent the United States. Yet instead of promoting American ideals, the company’s executives have adopted the radical, pseudoscientific concepts of critical race theory. They are pushing intensely ideological messages on their employees, from race-based collective guilt to abolishing the police. Let the American public know and judge accordingly.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
City Journal is a publication of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a leading free-market think tank. Are you interested in supporting the magazine? As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations in support of MI and City Journal are fully tax-deductible as provided by law (EIN #13-2912529).