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Amid backlash to Coca-Cola diversity training, 'be less white' seminar removed from Linkedin

The company's diversity training material was leaked by a whistleblower and posted on Twitter.

Image
Coca-Cola employee at Germany bottling plant.
Coca-Cola employee at Germany bottling plant.
(Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Updated: February 24, 2021 - 3:58pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Backlash over a Coca-Cola diversity-training course in which employees are encouraged to be less white has resulted in the website Linkedin removing related materials from the site.

The material, shared by a whistleblower, showed images of a learning plan telling employees that being "less white" means being "less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant and more humble."

The training slides teach that white people are "socialized to feel that they are inherently superior" and that by age three to four, children understand that being white is better. 

Organizational psychologist and YouTube commentator Karlyn Borysenko received the images from the whistleblower and on Friday share them on Twitter.

Her post as of Wednesday had over 23 million views.

Coca-Cola has said the Linkedin seminar is not part of the company's learning curriculum but is instead an optional course on "diversity, equity, and inclusion."

However, the whistleblower, Borysenko says, claims employees were in fact "required" to take the course. 

"I can understand sometimes there's miscommunication between management and employees," Borysenko told Newsweek. "But the messaging I've seen does use the word 'required.' Everything I've seen says it was part of the coursework, but then it was removed over the weekend once the news broke."

Linkedin, which is owned by Microsoft, told Newsweek that the Confronting Racism course has been removed at the request of the third party.

"The Confronting Racism course featuring Robin DiAngelo is no longer available in our course library, at the request of the 3rd party content provider we licensed this content from," LinkedIn vice president of corporate communications Nicole Leverich told Newsweek in an email.

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