LinkedIn has removed the racist “be less white” course featuring “anti-racist” Robin DiAngelo from its LinkedIn Learning platform after public backlash.
The course, entitled “Confronting Racism” went viral last week, when an internal whistleblower from Coca-Cola sent Karlyn Borysenko screenshots from the course on LinkedIn Learning, and claimed that employees at the company had been forced to take it. The course teaches people to “be less white,” and implies that to be white is to be arrogant, defensive, ignorant, and oppressive.
After facing severe backlash, Coca-Cola claimed in a statement provided to National File that the course was “not part of the company’s learning curriculum,” despite being accessible on the LinkedIn Learning platform to their employees. The statement differed from an earlier one attributed to the company, where they had confirmed that it was a part of their curriculum, but simply “not a focus” of their training.
By Monday, the anti-white course was pulled from LinkedIn’s site. In a statement, Nicole Leverich, the vice president of corporate communications for LinkedIn, said that the course by DiAngelo is “no longer available in [their] course library, at the request of the third party content provider we licensed this content from”:
We provide a wide variety of learning content, including more than 270 courses on the topics of diversity, inclusion and belonging. We will continue to add new courses to help people learn the skills they need to be more successful in their career, including the foundational skills we all need to be effective allies and help build a more equitable future.
It seems that the request originated from DiAngelo herself. A spokesperson for DiAngelo said that she was unaware that the course had even been created, and that “she had no involvement in it… did not approve its distribution, [and] did not know it was being used in corporate settings,” with the course being taken down as a result.
Here's the statement.
However, it should be noted that everything in that training aligns perfectly with what's in Robin's book White Fragility.
Maybe she's turning over a new leaf? There's always hope. pic.twitter.com/vPe681w6yb
— Karlyn supports banning critical race theory in NH (@DrKarlynB) February 23, 2021
National File asked LinkedIn for comment as to whether the content would have remained on their platform if the third party provider and DiAngelo had not requested it be taken down, and whether LinkedIn stood by selling a racist course that taught people to be “less white.” A representative from LinkedIn refused to answer, referring National File back to their earlier statement.