J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Shares Employee Guide For “Dismantling White Supremacy At Work”
J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot, the film production company behind Alias, Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and a number of the Mission Impossible films, recently shared an employee guide titled "Bad Robot's Guide to Dismantling White Supremacy at Work."
J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, the film production company behind Alias, Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and a number of the Mission Impossible films, recently shared an employee guide titled “Bad Robot’s Guide to Dismantling White Supremacy at Work.”
The company, who also recently signed a huge contract with WarnerMedia and is reportedly working on a Justice League Dark series for HBO Max, shared a link to the guide on Twitter writing, “At Bad Robot we are committed to dismantling white supremacy at work & at large. We are following leading academics, activists, & artists and have compiled an evolving set of resources that we are sharing with friends and colleagues. Onward!”
At Bad Robot, we are committed to dismantling white supremacy at work & at large. We are following leading academics, activists & artists and have compiled an evolving set of resources that we are sharing with friends and colleagues. Onward! https://t.co/fELolh1SaM pic.twitter.com/hp8PnlQxgx
— Bad Robot (@bad_robot) June 23, 2020
The title page provides further details on the goals of the guide. It reads, “At Bad Robot, we are committed as storytellers and executives to dismantling white supremacy at work and at large.”
It continues, “With this ever-evolving and far from complete guide, we hope to share some resources to explore and navigate this time for ourselves and with each other as we strive to do the delicate, raw, humbling, and enraging work of anti-racism.”
From there the next 10 pages provide a “comprehensive list of anti-racist resources that includes people to follow, films to watch, books to read, and other sources of information.”
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It is broken up into how much time you have. The first section is “If you have 5-10 minutes.” The next section is “If you have 30 minutes.” And the third section is “If you have 60 minutes+”
They also include a list of individuals they recommend their employees follow on social media. They include New Gods director Ava DuVernay, who recently threatened to discriminate against white men when hiring for films she was part of.
Another on the list includes Marvel Comics writer Ta-Nehisi Coates who has stated, “White America is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies.” Coates also described first responders to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, “hey were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.”
Others on the list include NBA star LeBron James, actor Michael B. Jordan, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, former ESPN reporter Jemele Hill, rapper Common, pop star Janelle Monae, director Jordan Peele, singer John Legend, and actress Issa Rae among others.
They also encourage their employees to follow a number of radical political organizations including Black Lives Matter, who have advocated violence against police and have made defunding and dismantling police organizations across the United States one of their top priorities.
They also advocate “to disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”
— #BlackLivesMatter-LA (@BLMLA) July 12, 2016
They also state they want “to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”
In fact the Black Lives Matter co-founder described the organization as “trained Marxists.”
They also encourage people to follow The Movement For Black Lives, which also advocates for defunding police.
Help us build a nationwide campaign to defund the police. We are building the tools and resources that you can take into your local community to create solutions that mitigate harm and risk for our families and loved ones. We need your help.https://t.co/RZbq2MjiSv pic.twitter.com/EdSsSjp2Z8
— Movement 4 Black Lives (@Mvmnt4BlkLives) June 22, 2020
Other groups include the Southern Poverty Law Center, RAICES, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Equal Justice Initiative among others.
There is also a list of books they recommend their employees read. Some of them include White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Dr. Robin DiAngelo, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson, and The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century among others.
Some of the books are even targeted towards their employees’ kids. In fact there is an entire section titled “If You Have Little Ones In Your Life.”
In the section aimed towards their managers, they instruct them to acknowledge “the result of hundreds of years of systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence against Black people.”
They also proclaim, “The uprisings that have been happening and will continue to occur in response to these systemic injustices are part of long lineages of resistance.”
It also instructs managers to say the names of individuals they are mourning. The list of names includes Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Dreasjon Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee.
The guide also instructs managers to give time off to black employees with no questions asked. The section reads, “While some people may turn to work as a coping mechanism, most people would probably benefit from more space.”
It adds, “That’s why you might consider making time off the norm-something that your Black staff members don’t need to opt into or request as an accommodation.”
They also suggest their managers have their employees engage in activism to defund the police.
They explain, “Repurpose existing forums for discussion, reflection, or action (perhaps your next virtual happy hour could be a phone bank to defund the police, or an upcoming community panel can focus on connecting your organization’s key issues to the Movement for Black Lives). At the very leart, remove the optional just-for-fun events (no one wants to play trivia right now, Andy).”
For their employees at the leadership level, they want their mission to serve and advance racial justice.
The guide explains, “Now is not the time to re-write your mission statement, but it is the time to assess where you are on your racial equity journey and get clear on how your mission serves to advance racial justice.”
Later in this leadership section they claim, “Racism in America is older than “America” itself, and a daylong seminar won’t stop the weaponization of white womanhood, the complicity of Asian Americans in anti-Blackness, or the disregard of Black humanity.”
Finally, at the end of the guide they offer an “Anti-Racist Vocabulary” section.
In that section they define what they mean by white supremacy. The guide explains, “The idea that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to people of color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions.”
It concludes, “While most people associate white supremacy with extremist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis, white supremacy is ever present in our institutional and cultural assumptions that assign value, morality, goodness, and humanity to the white group while casting people and communities of color as worthless, immoral, bad, and inhuman and ‘undeserving.'”
The guide also defines white privilege, “White privilege refers to the unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white. Generally white people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.”
What do you make of “Bad Robot’s Guide to Dismantling White Supremacy at Work?” Would you work for an organization that employed such a guide?