Woke Insurance

The Washington Examiner has a chilling story of corporate leftism at Cigna, the giant insurance company. It is evidently based on inside information from disgusted Cigna employees:

Employees at one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers are routinely subjected to far-left critical race theory lessons and asked not to consider white men in hiring decisions, according to leaked documents and chat logs obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Those who work at Cigna told the Washington Examiner that they are expected to undergo sensitivity training they consider racist and discriminatory. Lessons include reviews of concepts such as “white privilege,” “gender privilege,” and something called “religious privilege,” which is described as “a set of advantages that benefits believers of a certain religion but not people who practice other religions or no religions at all.”

I assume the “privileged” religion is Christianity.

It looks like Cigna engages in blatant, and presumably illegal, race discrimination:

Chat logs between an employee and a hiring manager viewed by the Washington Examiner detail an incident where a minority candidate with strong credentials performed exceptionally well in an interview. When that employee suggested to the hiring manager that the company wave the candidate through to the next step in the process, the hiring manager dismissed the candidate under the assumption he was white.

After learning that the candidate belonged to a minority group, the manager said she was excited to hire him, despite learning virtually nothing else about his background.
Another time, an employee suggested a candidate with years of industry experience. That employee was informed by the hiring manager that the candidate, a white man, could not be interviewed because he didn’t meet the diversity criteria.

Cigna has a recommended reading list for its employees. To the extent that I am familiar with them, these books are all terrible:

We have come to quite a pass in corporate America when a formerly-stodgy insurance company recommends books by Angela Davis, a murderer (to be fair, she got off despite overwhelming evidence of guilt) and a Communist.

My personal vision of Hell is a world run by a cosmic HR Department. I assume Cigna’s HR harridans are the main source of Cigna’s horror, which as usual descends to laughable trivia, as in this list of discouraged figures of speech:

No more “brown bag lunch!” No more “going into this blind!” No more “quiet in the peanut gallery!” That one, I totally fail to get. Peanut equity? Beats me. The ban on “hip, hip, hooray!” is also a mystery. This one, on the other hand, is overdetermined: no “China virus!” For that, there is no acceptable substitute, so perhaps covid-19 is a forbidden topic at Cigna.

Cigna proudly declares its support for “equality and equity for communities of color,” perhaps not understanding that equality and equity are contradictory concepts, as the Left defines equity. You have to choose one or the other.

Nowadays, everyone must have his own personal story of racism. Thus:

During one of these meetings in June 2020, Cigna CEO David Cordani spoke about racism in the United States and told a story of how he, a white man, felt discrimination in his own life as a child when he wasn’t allowed to play basketball with black players.

Mr. Cordani is a successful businessman. Cigna boasts that under his leadership, the company has seen “compound annual growth rates of 23% for revenues and 15% for earnings per share, as well as Total Shareholder Return of 483% through 2019.” Thus, Cordani earned more than $19 million in 2019. For that kind of dough, I suppose a little humiliation is a small price to pay.

Still, it would be fun to know more about young Mr. Cordani’s basketball experience. Born in 1966, he would have been 10 years old in 1976, well into the affirmative action era. Either his parents were bizarre outliers–as he rather churlishly implies–or he is a fabulist. I’m betting on the latter. My guess is that, if anything, the black kids weren’t enthusiastic about playing ball with young Mr. Cordani.

It has been shown, I believe, that during the Jim Crow era, racial discrimination was most acute in government and in less-competitive industries like regulated utilities. Absent other imperatives, competitive pressures lead companies to hire and promote the best people they can. They do this not out of altruism, but in self-defense. Chalk it up as one of many benefits of free enterprise.

If Cigna feels free to discriminate against whites, especially white men, it means one of two things: either it does not see itself as functioning in a competitive environment, perhaps because its nominal competitors can be trusted to do the same thing, or it thinks that going “woke” will curry enough favor with government, and perhaps others, to outweigh the inefficiency of hiring and promoting less-qualified employees. Either alternative is depressing.

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