Amazon forces its executives to acknowledge their white privilege and confess their “unconscious racial bias” during regular meetings with other employees, according to a whistleblower at the company, a revelation that comes just a week after the e-commerce giant announced this year’s “equity” goals.
The company holds “town halls” about once a month where Amazon vice presidents are “forced to talk about how they grew up with unconscious biases” and discuss their white privilege, part of “a wider company culture that seems to be forcing itself down on all of the employees,” a company insider said in an interview this week with The Daily Wire.
“Obviously they bring out the white male VPs to talk about all this,” the insider said.
The town halls include live Q&A sessions during which employees have asked the senior executives to describe specific instances in which they experienced their own white privilege and say what they wish they could change about their actions in those moments.
“The stories that they come back with are so obviously just false and fake, but it’s just stuff that they have to say during these meetings,” the insider said.
The whistleblower was prompted to call out Amazon after receiving an internal company email this week that outlined a detailed set of company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion goals for 2021, signaling that Amazon’s push for “equity” directly impacts hiring decisions.
“These goals represent the next step in Amazon’s diversity, equity, and inclusion journey, not the final destination,” Amazon human resources chief Beth Galetti wrote in a post on the company’s blog that was blasted out to employees this week.
This year’s goals include doubling the black employees in senior positions in the U.S., an objective Amazon proposed last year and claims it achieved. Amazon will also increase the number of black employees in less senior positions by at least 30 percent and increase the number of black software development engineer interns by at least 40 percent.
“The most important work we did in 2020 was less visible,” Amazon’s post read. “We spent several months diving deep into the mechanisms we use to hire, develop, and promote employees, so that we can better identify opportunities to ensure equitable access for all.”
“Much of the conversation in 2020 was about the Black community,” the company added.
The Seattle-based tech behemoth also plans to retain employees at similar rates across all demographics as well as increase the number of women in several senior tech and science roles by 30 percent. It remains unclear whether the goal is to even out racial representation of minorities across all departments. Amazon’s tech department, for example is about 90 percent Indian-American and Asian-American, according to the company insider.
“It seems like they’re no longer sticking to the ‘we’ll hire the best person for the job’ narrative that they’ve been pushing,” the insider said.
Amazon will also “inspect inclusion sentiment” by demographic for all employees and make sure 100 percent of employees participate in required inclusion trainings. The company committed to more frequent internal reporting on equity issues and will scrutinize and address any significant differences among demographics in performance reviews and attrition on Amazon teams. Amazon will also work to address any “new instances of non-inclusive terms” in company documents.
According to the insider, absurdities abound in the regular sensitivity and unconscious bias trainings that are mandatory for all Amazon employees.
The training sessions present employees with potential scenarios, for example, a minority employee confiding that they feel they have been wronged by their boss. Trainees are asked to choose the proper response to that situation. One of the available multiple choice answers is along the lines of the employee saying they do not have all the information and do not want to assign premature blame. That answer is marked as incorrect, and employees who select wrong answers must take the entire sensitivity training again. The correct answer to that scenario according to the training is to acknowledge that the minority employee was wronged and alert Human Resources.
Meanwhile, all large meetings, of which there are many, begin with discussion about equity and diversity.
Amazon’s new and more aggressive approach on diversity and inclusion is the latest in a string of ambitious equity commitments from large companies.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has made several moves toward pressuring companies to disclose data on equity issues, including the racial makeup of their workforces, sparking politicization concerns.
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