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20 Feb, 2013 13:46

USDA Sensitivity Training: ‘The pilgrims were illegal aliens’

USDA Sensitivity Training: ‘The pilgrims were illegal aliens’

The US Department of Agriculture has sparked outcry by paying $100,000 a year to a speaker who used compulsory diversity training to teach employees that “the Pilgrims were illegal aliens” and that “minorities” should be called “emerging majorities”.

Conservative pressure group Judicial Watch made a FOI request to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), demanding details of a diversity program the federal agency has been conducting in the wake of a campaign for “cultural transformation” and “a new era of Civil Rights” called for by Thomas Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, two years ago.

Judicial Watch was given an internal use-only video of a typical must-attend seminar for staff, conducted by travelling diversity speaker Dr. Samuel Betances, who calls himself “a biracial, bicultural, and bilingual citizen of the world” on his website, and asks his audience to “harness the rainbow”.

Say, ‘Thank you, black folks!’” declares Betances, in one call-and-response segment. The audience repeats his words.

“I want you to say that ‘America was founded by outsiders. Say that. Or today’s insiders’, who get very nervous about today’s outsiders.”

“I want you to say ‘The Pilgrims were illegal aliens,’” declares Betances, cupping his hand to his ear.

Those present chant every word after the speaker.

"Give me a Bam!" (Still from YouTube video/JudicialWatch)

Betances goes on to say that staff treat “unauthorized” workers with “respect”, and follows this up with “I don’t like the word ‘minorities’. I prefer the ‘emerging majorities’,” to laughter from the crowd.

Throughout the lecture, which exceeded an hour, Betances frequently punctuates his sentences with “Give us a bam!” to which USDA staff reply in unison.

According to his website, the self-described “great motivator” overcame “stigma of minority group status” to become “an honored Professor Emeritus, a consultant to US Presidents, CEOs, managers, community groups, clergy members, educators, and a role model for youth.”

Betances’ motivational services do not come cheap, the USDA paid $200,000 dollars to Betances’ company in 2011 and 2012.

“If you take a look at all of you here and you think about your salaries and your benefits and what you have left undone – plus my fee – plus the expense of the team that putting the video together, this is a huge expense,” says Betances at one point, urging his audience to listen in.

Not everyone believes this is money well-spent.

“This USDA diversity training video depicts out-of-control political correctness,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “Can someone please explain how any of this helps USDA employees to better serve the American taxpayer? This video further confirms that politically-correct diversity training programs are both offensive and a waste of taxpayer money.”

Betances’ methods have also come under attack as inappropriate for compulsory staff sessions.

“What I didn't like was asking the audience to repeat after him,” psychologist Robi Ludwig told Fox News.

“Because that was a type of teaching method that reinforces the certain kind of thinking. And it wasn't critical thinking.”

The "great motivator" - Dr Betances (Photo from www.columbusacademy.org)