On CNN Saturday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and Republican strategist Alice Stewart argued over President Donald Trump's push to cancel funding for racial sensitivity training at federal agencies, which the administration claims are "un-American propaganda."
"Look, what screams unity is having civilized conversations and discussions on race. What this training program did was far from that," said Stewart. "What this training program did, if you actually look at the language that was used in this, it was prompting divisiveness. It was prompting comments that I don't support at all. One of the specific comments in the training was that, quote, 'virtually all white people contribute to racism.' I don't agree with that and I don't think this should be part of federal training."
"That is not what these programs are," said Cardona. "I have been in the federal government. I was in the Clinton administration. I took these trainings. That kind of language is just not in there. They are promoting that language, I think, to give an excuse to be able to get rid of these kinds of trainings."
"Look, it is a fact that biased tendencies exist, every person, no matter the color of your skin, not just white people," said Cardona. "I myself have been the butt of jokes from people thinking they're funny, but because I'm a Latina, because I'm a Colombian, they think they can make that joke in front of me. These people are not evil. I understand that. But it does contribute to a workplace of discomfort, to a workplace where you think, wow, I'm so different, people don't understand me, I'm not welcome here."
"I was able to work through that, but these trainings are designed so those people who have that unconscious bias understand to be able to recognize it and then to be able to stop themselves before they say those kinds of insensitive comments," added Cardona. "And for this president to say that those trainings just have no place in federal agencies, to me, just indicates he doesn't understand and doesn't care about the issue of race in this country."