Story at a glance:
- A packaging engineer for Hasbro says the toy maker is trying to “indoctrinate children” with its mandatory critical race theory training.
- The Conscious Kid is behind the training, which teaches that children as young as 2 can be racist.
- The American Psychological Association backs up The Conscious Kid’s training.
In an interview with Project Veritas’ James O'Keefe, a contractual packaging engineer for Hasbro put his reputation and credibility on the line by telling the conservative watchdog that Hasbro’s latest partnership has a liberal agenda to push critical race theory.
David Johnson sat down with O’Keefe, claiming that a family-operated social justice organization, The Conscious Kid, is giving Hasbro employees "critical race theory" training, who will implement changes to their toy franchises, Newsweek reported.
Johnson, who is Black, said The Conscious Kid interactive training, which he said was mandatory for him (Hasbro disputes this), teaches that toddlers as young as 2 could be racist, and "using race to reason about people’s behaviors."
By the time toddlers are 3 years old, they are able to express "racist language intentionally," specifically white toddlers who hold explicit or overt negative attitudes against people of color. At age 4, toddlers could have "strong and consistent pro-white, anti-Black bias."
"At the age of five, children show many of the same racial attitudes held by adults — children are really sensitive to the status of different racial groups in our society and show a high-status bias towards white people, which is the socially privileged group in our society. White children show pro-white bias at this age," according to The Conscious Kid.
The Conscious Kid, founded by couple Katie Ishizuka and Ramón Stephens — who share two children of color and began lending books to a library because there was a lack of Black representation in children’s books at their local branch — is "an education, research, and policy organization dedicated to equity and promoting healthy racial identity development in youth," according to the official website.
O'Keefe is known for employing agents — sometimes going undercover himself — to film his political opponents in off-the-cuff, edited videos.
Johnson, on the other hand, came forth to O’Keefe’s studio, to unveil what he is calling "absurd" training.
"I think it's absurd to just state as fact that at two years old, that children are going to be racist, and using race to reason about who they're going to play with, and discriminating based on," Johnson said.
Johnson was not clear on what products and packaging Hasbro and The Conscious Kid are using to "indoctrinate children," but the rogue employee believes attempting to teach children about racial bias is flawed.
In the training’s defense, the American Psychological Association (APA) says adults believe 5-year-old children should be taught about race, and the study shows that children are capable of developing negative thoughts about certain racial groups at an early age.
Hasbro told Changing America, "Project Veritas’ report mischaracterizes Hasbro and our values. Our mission is to create the world’s best play and entertainment experiences that connect children, fans and families around the world. We occasionally invite third-party speakers for optional sessions to discuss diverse viewpoints. The referenced session was not mandatory training; it was an optional webinar attended by a small group of employees. As always, the views expressed by external speakers are their own and do not reflect the views of the company."
On their corporate website, the company wrote, "We want every kid to feel like a hero. To see themselves on the screen, in their toys and games. To feel like they belong and they matter, irrespective of the color of their skin."
Update: This story was updated at 2 pm ET on July 21, 2021 with a comment from Hasbro.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA