(Fox News) A Maine hospital executive involved in diversity, equity and inclusion hosted an antiracist prayer service that had a group of White people apologize for their internalized racism as White people, according to a video reviewed by Fox News Digital.
Ryan Polly is a vice president of DEI at MaineHealth, a hospital system of over 20,000 employees. He has said the hospitals cater to overwhelmingly White patients, which is reflected by local demographics.
Polly refers to himself as a “minister” of a group called One Spirit. According to a video reviewed by Fox News Digital, which has since been scrubbed, Polly is shown teaching attendees how to be practitioners of antiracism through a prayer that he dedicated to “loving spirits who are known by many names.”
The DEI leader’s ideology is steeped in critical race theory. He said during the prayer services that he himself maintains “racist narratives and biases,” and attributed those to his skin color.
“Only then can we become equipped to… challenge the systems that have been designed to give us the advantage and oppress everyone else,” he said about becoming an antiracist practitioner.
“As the head of diversity, equity and inclusion at a major health system, I think frequently about my role as White person first and as a diversity leader second. I think about the responsibility I have to continue the deep internal work of… understanding my own racist narrative and biases,” Polly said. “I think about the privilege my Whiteness affords me and the choices Whiteness allows me to have… My Whiteness keeps me and my family safe.”
MaineHealth defended Polly, stating, “Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusionstems from our organizational values, mission and vision. This work strengthens our connections with patients and ultimately helps us to deliver higher-quality care. Consistent with our value of Respect and our role as an institution of learning, we welcome and encourage divergent viewpoints and dialogue among our patients and care team.”
However, Polly’s views on DEI contain outright stereotyping of people on the basis of being White, claiming that they are conditioned to be racist and oppressive.
For example, Polly said that White people acquire “ignorance,” “biases” and “racist thoughts” on the basis of their belonging to a “life of Whiteness.”
“This evening has been designed with White people in mind not to take the stage. We have plenty of places to take the stage,” he said, starting off the prayer. “We [need] to… begin the work to join the fight… We need to ensure we… do the work to challenge our ignorance, our biases and the racist thoughts that we’ve acquired through the life of Whiteness.”
In a portion of the prayer focused on “dismantling the system,” Polly encouraged the White people attending to feel uncomfortable with the messages.
“Let us develop the courage to dive [into] deeply experienced discomfort. Let’s sit with it… knowing that the answers come not from our own conscious thinking because that thinking is shaped by racist constructs. The answers lie deeper,” he said. “Let us leave with the tenacity to become anti-racist and continue the fight, even on the days when we could simply choose not to. Amen.”