On September 22, President Trump signed the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. The order speaks of “race or sex stereotyping,” which is defined as the act of “ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex.” Federal agencies or entities that receive federal funds are prohibited from stereotyping in their training or educational procedures. If an organization wants federal money, for example, its material cannot claim that individual males are racist, sexist, or oppressive simply because they are male, white, or heterosexual. Doing so is racial and sexual stereotyping.
The order has teeth in two ways. Presumably, the executive can compel compliance within its own federal agencies. Tax recipients, including contractors, who do not comply can be defunded or stripped of “licenses”; a university could lose federal money, student access to federal loans, or accreditation.
People object to government involvement in issues of discrimination, and justly so, because individuals have a right to freedom of association. The law has no business regulating peaceful interactions or refusals to interact. But government is already involved to the hilt, and the executive order seeks to take several steps back. Moreover, the dynamic of discrimination or stereotyping changes when it is a government agency or tax-funded entity that is discriminating. They are accountable to the public for how