BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BSBCT) is pushing Critical Race Theory on its employees, even though the company serves a state that largely disagrees with these values.
This is according to a long-term employee of BCBST, who provided information to The Tennessee Star on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their job.
This story follows that of another BCBST employee who came forward last week also on the condition of anonymity to tell The Star that BCBST – a near $1 billion vendor to Tennessee’s state government and a TennCare Health Plan contractor – is forcing some of its employees to get a COVID-19 shot and not allowing for religious accommodation.
BCBST’s policies have significant impact in the state, being the state’s largest health plan – serving 3.4 million members and 11,000 companies – and the employer of 6,700 Tennesseans, according to BCBST’s “by the numbers.”
The employee who read the previous story about BCBST’s termination of employees for not receiving a COVID vaccine made them come forward about this additional topic that BCBST employees are finding disturbing.
The long-time employee says that they are finding the current culture very divisive and serving of a political agenda.
Since the George Floyd protests of last year – which caused billions of dollars’ worth of property damage, dozens of deaths and at least 2,000 injuries to police officers – the employee told The Star that BCBST has taken a very “progressive” stance on workplace culture.
As such, BSBCT has been pushing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policies very hard on employees.
This includes publishing articles on the company’s intranet pushing the concepts as well as recommending employees watch videos, read materials and buy books on the topic of Critical Race Theory.
The employee provided a four-page internal document dated July 13, 2021, titled “Read, Watch and Learn,” encouraging the use of the included resources “to help better understand systemic racism and its impacts on individuals, organizations and society.”
Several of the materials can be accessed only by BCBST employees who enter a username and password, such as a BCBS video series, “Talking About Race.” In the collection of two-minute videos, co-workers discuss their experiences with racism and share their memories and feelings about racism’s effects and let fellow employees know what they can do differently. All employees are encouraged to participate in the self-education exercise.
Another self-education source encouraged by BCBST is a 60-minute video from “How to be an Antiracist” fame Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. As The Star reported, Kendi was paid $20,000 by Fairfax County Virginia’s public schools for a one-hour virtual presentation, while the average teaching assistant earns just $23,000 for an entire year.
BCBST even reaches into what they think employees should be doing in their homes and raising their children.
Under a category titled “Pass it On,” BCBST tells employees, “Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Experts agree it’s never too early to start talking about race. These resources can help start the conversation, as well as help parents address feelings children may have about protests and events in the news.”
The employee shared with The Star that there are several employees who are afraid to speak up on such issues, because it is clear which direction BCBST is moving even though the company serves a state that largely disagrees with these values.
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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter at The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News.