Diversity training doesn’t work. Here’s why.

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

“Diversity training.”

What comes to your mind when you read those words?

a) Listening to boring speakers who use meaningless buzzwords like “cultural competence” and “tolerance.”

b) Participating in awkward workshop exercises. Privilege walk, anyone?

c) Learning painfully obvious things, like “racism is bad.” As if you didn’t already know that.

d) All of the above.

It’s no wonder diversity fatigue is sweeping across America.

The truth is, I believe that most diversity training doesn’t work.

Why not?

Because so many diversity trainers focus on all the wrong things, like:

  • Training people to hide their racism
    Yes, you read that correctly. Many diversity trainers don’t push people to challenge their own racist beliefs. Instead, the seminars teach people to be more aware of the non-verbal cues (the fancy word is “microinequities”) they send out that may tip others off to their racism. The philosophy is: hide your racism in order to create a more harmonious workplace.
  • Celebrating diversity
    It’s much easier to engage in feel-good, uncritical celebrations of diversity and multiculturalism than it is to tackle the complex issues surrounding race and racism. But focusing on “celebrating diversity” only encourages people to turn a blind eye to racism, and promotes the myth that we live in a happy-go-lucky, color-blind world.
  • Making people of color teach white people about racism
    Let’s face it: Most diversity trainers aim their messages at white people and treat the people of color in the room as teaching aides. There’s an unspoken assumption that only white folks need to learn about race and racism, and that everyone else should share their stories and experiences in order to help their white colleagues achieve anti-racist nirvana. This approach alienates people of color and makes white people feel angry and resentful. Racism is not just a white problem — we live in a racist society and all of us have absorbed these racist messages, whether we are conscious of them or not.

People are tired of tiptoeing around issues of race. They are tired of safe cultural tourism. They are tired of companies who know how to say the right things but can’t back up their words with action.

It’s time to go beyond diversity buzzwords and oppression olympics.

I’m putting forth a new framework for discussing race and racism. Will you join me?

Note: If you liked this post, please digg it so more people can discover it.

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. links for 2007-05-30 at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture on 30 May 2007 at 5:19 am

    […] Diversity training doesn’t work. Here’s why. - Race in the Workplace “Many diversity trainers don’t push people to challenge their own racist beliefs. Instead, the seminars teach people to be more aware of the non-verbal cues (the fancy word is “microinequities”) they send out that may tip others off to their racism. (tags: workplace diversity racism) […]

  2. 8th Edition of the Carnival of Leadership Growth « The Organic Leadership Blog on 02 Jun 2007 at 9:21 am

    […] Van Kerckhove presents Diversity training doesn’t work. Here’s why. posted at Race in the Workplace - how race and racism influence our working lives, saying, […]

  3. ATR 70 - Michelle Obama - 06/05/2007 - Submit an Audio Comment: 206-203-3983 at Addicted to Race on 05 Jun 2007 at 9:09 am

    […] “Diversity Training Doesn’tWork. Here’s Why.” by Carmen Van Kerckhove […]

  4. Addicted to Race 70: Michelle Obama at Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture on 05 Jun 2007 at 9:31 am

    […] “Diversity Training Doesn’tWork. Here’s Why.” by Carmen Van Kerckhove […]

  5. Addicted to Race 70: Michelle Obama at Anti-Racist Parent - for parents committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook on 05 Jun 2007 at 9:31 am

    […] “Diversity Training Doesn’tWork. Here’s Why.” by Carmen Van Kerckhove […]

  6. Two workplace-related blog carnivals at Race in the Workplace - how race and racism influence our working lives on 06 Jun 2007 at 7:03 am

    […] Thanks to Spooky Action and The Organic Leadership Blog for including my post on why diversity training doesn’t work! […]

  7. Corporate Vigilance on 10 Jun 2007 at 9:18 am

    June 10, 2007 Edition…

    Carmen Van Kerckhove presents Diversity training doesn’t work. Here’s why. posted at Race in the Workplace - how race and racism influence our working lives, saying, “Many diversity trainers don’t push people to challenge their own racist beliefs. …

  8. If diversity training doesn’t work, why do companies do it? at Race in the Workplace - how diversity, multiculturalism, race and racism influence our working lives on 12 Sep 2007 at 7:01 am

    […] what I’ve seen, diversity training rarely succeeds at reducing stereotyping and bias within […]

Comments

  1. daddyinastrangeland wrote:

    I’ve never had to participate in one of these stereotyp(ed)/(ing)/(ical) workplace diversity trainings before, but once upon a time, when I was wondering how one could get into that business professionally, I started looking stuff up on the web and was amazed/horrified at how hokey/pseudoacademic/standardized it all seemed to be in the “big business/corporate world.”

    I come from a different background–my first training, as it were, was as a high school student in a predominantly minority public school at which our history teacher brought in a friend who was a trainer at A World of Difference (Anti-Defamation League’s ed project). I was introduced to a lot of the standard tools–break-out groups, standup-sitdown, etc. Maybe corporate America’s made these things banal and useless, but for us, as urban highschoolers, it was a revelation. I then had an opportunity to participate in similar stuff but only for Asian American kids at a camp put on by local college students. Again, for a high schooler, challenging stuff.

    Then in college, as an ethnic studies major and a member of our “minority peer counselor” program (which also ran a preorientation program for incoming students of color, full of workshops), I was both participant and facilitator. And yes, we argued about the politics and morality of manipulation (are we manipulating participants to get a desired response?), and yes, certain workshop techniques were easily turned into running jokes. (One line about “owning one’s positions of privilege” became “own it, buy it, sell it, rent it.”) But even now, all these years down the line, I still pull out the line, “You need a workshop” as a joke/putdown when somebody says something unduly/uncharacteristically sexist/racist/classist/homophobic/etc.

    Then, as a teacher “trained” (not really) in methods and pedagogies of multicultural and social justice education, I tried to instill some of this background into my history classes, ideas of positionality, of power and privilege, etc. Didn’t always work–hell, probably hardly ever, but this, again, was in a multiethnic workingclass public school.

    Now I’m in a homogeneous, conservative town, the most lefty person I know (heh), and working for a family-owned media company. My department is pretty demographically diverse, I guess, but stuff still gets said that ticks me the hell off. As far as I know, there’s no “The Office”-style diversity training here (maybe we should all just watch that episode).

    I totally feel you on what you’ve written here, Carmen, and on New Demographic’s core beliefs. One of the books we used in ed school was called “Beyond Heroes and Holidays,” all about how real multicultural education was not about Black History Month and country-of-origin-potlucks, but about different points of view and talking about how we got where we are and what we do now.

    I see that need everyday, at my work, in the town in which I live, the need for new understandings and new vocabulary, and really, the need for us to take this thing back from the corporate certificate-of-completion folks.

    Cuz you know what? Somebody needs a workshop.

  2. Jenn wrote:

    I think the problem with diversity training is that is presumes a simple checklist of solutions for solving the inconvenience of racism. How often have we — as people of colour — challenged non-minorities on a potentially racist perspective, only to have them counter with: “well, what should I say next time?”

    Diversity training implies that there is a code of conduct that can correct for racist behaviour, that if we just don’t repeat that Dave Chappelle sketch at the water cooler, use the “n-word” instead of “nigger” when quoting our favourite rap lyrics, or ensure that exactly 13% of staff are minorities, reflecting the national averages. This doesn’t address racism, it actually diminshes the influence of racism on one’s world outlook by supposing that the solution is really so simple. It further encourages non-minorities to dismiss racism, because they don’t have to think about their own racist beliefs, they just have to follow a pre-defined “12 Step Program”.

    Also, diversity training presumes that there is someone who is “more knowledgeable” about racism than others. It assumes that there is someone who can claim to be an all-knowing teacher of racism; but what is the basis for that claim? Is it because the diversity training instructor went to higher education? Is it because the diversity training instructor is a person of colour or knows people of colour? Doesn’t this smack of Spike Lee’s infamous line “Teach me, O great Niggerologist?”

    Racial tolerance shouldn’t be a class; it needs to be a discussion where there are no right answers, only differing perspectives.

  3. rod w wrote:

    I have to admit that I didn’t read the article in its entirety. Why? The title is something I am in agreement with in and of itself. I’ve gone to some of these diversity seminars, with folks of the dominant culture who appear to be bored stiff from the presentations, which are always put on by folks who don’t look like them. In my mind, I think diversity training probably works best from a marketing standpoint when it is designed to get different genders, races, ethnic groups, or etc to separate themselves from their money. We’re a multicultural society witha a multicultural agenda, who continues to use the Rodney King phrase to laugh at ourselves

  4. Wendi Muse wrote:

    I agree with the first point about hiding racism big-time! Diversity training, particularly sessions I have experienced at the corporate level as opposed to training I had undergone during college, is incredibly muted. I have been told, at the beginning of one session, that we were not going to talk about racism or sexism. Um, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Diversity training encourages tolerance and fair treatment, but often doesn’t challenge people to change their ways of thinking. I understand that it’s a huge task to take on, but maybe if the sessions themselves were done in such a way that more could be gained than the typical “hey, we’re just like a crayon box, yay!” message, I think the training would be more beneficial to all its participants.

    A big obstacle for the facilitators of diversity workshops, however, is that they often feel pressured to a) frame their workshop as if everyone is starting on the same playing field when it comes to knowledge of oppression/inequality/stereotypes (aka no knowledge at all), and b) not tackle the deep/serious issues in order to avoid conflict or an uncomfortable environment (esp. in workplace diversity training). They also are probably fully cognizant of the fact that more than half of the room will tune out their every word, or may have already mentally checked out the second they received an invitation to anything containing the word “diversity.”

    Maybe if we as a nation could provide a more balanced education for children (i.e. teach them about more than just Europe or the US post-”contact”) and a demographically accurate and fair (aka not predominately stereotypical) representation of people of various backgrounds in the media then programs like diversity training could be rendered obsolete.

  5. Lainad wrote:

    Great post Carmen. When I read your comments, specifically on
    “celebrating diversity” it made me think about what’s happening here in Canada in terms of discussing race, which is well, a whole lotta nothing.’ One of the things that annoys me about Canada is that racism is hidden behind the lauding of Canada’s multiculturalism and immigration policy and the diversity of the urban dwellings. “We’re so diverse? How can anyone be a racist living in such a multicultural city? After all, we’re not anything like them (United States)” We as Canadians are so concerned with keeping up the appearance of being kind, generous and polite people that not only did the government (which in the ‘80’s eradicated the enforcement of Employment Equity in business except in the provincial and Federal-run institutions in the late 80’s) make huge cuts to the funding of social service, human rights organizations and hospitals, but the media is not interested in covering instances of overt racism unless an American media outlet picks it up first, or the group that has been targeted bullies the media into providing coverage. We are a country in denial, and from my dealings working within Toronto’s black community organizations, we tend to be an apathetic bunch, thinking that even though we deal with overt racism, we are pretty complacent when it comes to organizing and trying to come up with initiatives to improve the situation for the younger generations. We are far too concerned with appeasing the ‘other,’ rather than standing up for ourselves. But admittedly, when it comes down to speaking out, vs. trying to keep your job, and a roof over your head what would you rather do?

    But while we laud our culturally diverse population, the way how we treat First Nations people is abysmal. For some strange reason, not too many Canadians pay attention to the government’s refusal (or denial) to honour land right claims, and when First Nations resort to public protests, such as blocking main thoroughfares ( such as what has been happening outside of Caledonia, ON for over a year), they are told to “get a job,” or even more confusing, “go back to where you came from.” Umm, isn’t this their country?

    Okay I’m ranting here. Carmen I agree that diversity training doesn’t work for the reasons you gave. I once worked in a urban hospital which had a floor dedicated to HIV / AIDS patients, diversity and sensitivity training was mandatory. Despite being educated on how the virus was transmitted, staff would leave the meals for the HIV patients on the floor outside their rooms, refusing to enter. There were numerous complaints from the patients but nothing was done – the excuse used was ‘well, they had diversity training.’ Once, someone who used to loiter in the hospital threw a hot cup of coffee at me and called me a nigger. I tried to get the person banned from the premises but was told that perhaps I was being too sensitive.

    I think there are two schools of thought when whites and some people of colour react to diversity training. Denial that a problem exists is the first and a privileged, supremacist way of thinking - that if it hasn’t happened to them it doesn’t really exist. The second is the underlying yet pervasive feeling that if you are concerned about these issues, it is somehow your fault, or because someone who looked like you did something, you must take the blame for it. It is somehow justifiable to white and others who in order to make themselves feel better, play the game just as much as them (I call it the ‘who can kiss the white man’s ass first?’ game) to cry, ‘you’re getting special treatment. You want equality but this isn’t very equal is it?’

    And yes, I am getting pretty damn tired of being told that I have to educate others in how they should ‘treat’ me. But my question is to you, and one of the many reasons I will join you in putting a new framework together is to find a way to avoid these conversations because I don’t think that we are getting anywhere and most importantly, sometimes I feel like I’m going to lose my mind

  6. Latoya Peterson wrote:

    Instead of diversity training, I recommend public shunning/call outs.

    I’m only half joking. Part of the reason this type of behavior exists is because people are afraid to call it out or engage in dialouge. Being in “safe” environments and allowing others to make racist statements is threatening and damaging.

    I’ve never been through diversity training, but checking out my young, formerly progressive ex-company and seeing how the culture changed with just one addition of a racist/xenophobe/homophobe makes me think that public dialouge has to be forced sometimes.

    And us, the anti-racist activists have to be willing to speak up as well. I know I’m guilty of letting comments slide. I chalk it up to people being ignorant and ignore them…but that probably isn’t the right answer…

  7. Carmen Van Kerckhove wrote:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone.

    It’s probably true that as Jason says, some people “need a workshop” and as Latoya says, “public dialogue has to be forced sometimes.”

    Let’s face it - we don’t get to talk about race all that much outside of situations like these. And for those folks who are not plugged into the conversations happening on blogs like this, diversity training may be the only time they talk about race at all.

    Then the question becomes: how to make the best use of that “forced dialogue?”

    If diversity trainers are saying outright that they “are not going to talk about racism or sexism,” that’s a pretty big problem.

    I think that expectations and assumptions play a huge role. Generally when I do workshops, it’s on a specific topic, like myths and realities of interracial relationships, or the intersection of race and pop culture.

    I always manage to cultivate a relaxed environment where people are comfortable enough to engage in a great discussion about the topic.

    I have a feeling that if I were to present the exact same workshop, but attendees were told that this was MANDATORY DIVERSITY TRAINING. Things would go very differently. People would come into the room with their guard up, and would probably be rolling their eyes throughout the whole thing.

  8. Jenn wrote:

    Carmen, I think you raise a good point that I think should be clarified in this discussion: saying that “diversity training” doesn’t necessarily mean that workshops, seminars, and discussions shouldn’t be conducted. I think it is critical that issues of tolerance be addressed in an open fashion in any workplace environment — every workspace needs a forum to be able to address problems of discrimination and lay out a groundwork for what is and is not “acceptable behaviour”. The difference is whether it comes in the form of “diversity training” or “a discussion on diversity”.

  9. Penelope Trunk wrote:

    Hi, Carmen. I learned a lot from this post — about why diversity training is annoying. As a white person (who hates sitting throught any kind of training) I had no idea about some of the nuances of the diversity trainign stuff.

    But, at the risk of being the cynic of this bunch, this discussion is missing a very core issue of diversity training: Companies do it so that they don’t get sued. We have a history of legal decisions that show that diversity training is a way for a company to prove that it is trying to create an atmosphere that encourages diversity. So the companies do the training.

    The discussion of whether or not the training is effective has to take into account the goals of the company. And, in the effort to keep a company out of court, these diversity trainings probably are effective.

    Penelope

  10. Carmen Van Kerckhove wrote:

    Great point, Penelope. Diversity training is so often a CYA move for companies. Just a way of doing *something* to seem like they care.

  11. Harlowmonkey wrote:

    I have to attend one of these dreaded workshops next week, the first time I’ve had to attend these as part of my job in the so-called “real” world (I’ve attended /observed several as part of internships).

    From what I’ve seen so far, I would completely agree with the first and last point, especially the last one which was pervasive in the whole training series I attended (a 5 -class series).

    From my perspective, diversity trainings aren’t going to help me, as one of the few non-white employees in my office, experience less of the small, daily, chip-away-at-your-soul-in-small-parts interactions. My work hinges on racial disparities (I work in child welfare) and the “diversity training” that the 90% white social workers working with 90% families of color receive tend to focus on how “population x” does this or that — in other words, justifying and reinforcing negative stereotypes.

    In a recent conversation with my supervisor about issues of racial understanding among my coworkers, she had said that as a supervisor, she can’t address issues if she doesn’t know about them (meaning, I need to rat on my co-workers for their offensive actions).

    “Really?” I asked. “Because are you ready for me to come to you every day and tell you about the little things that I hear and observe - or at what point will you consider me a troublemaker and feel like I’m being oversensitive? Then it becomes more about how I should be more ‘forgiving’ and ‘understanding’ because so-and-so didn’t mean anything by their words/actions and I’m just being oversensitive.”

    As can be expected, she didn’t have anything to say about that.

    I think Penelope has an excellent point. Risk management is one of the driving forces for having diversity training in the first place.

  12. Adina Ba wrote:

    Okay, so diversity training doesn’t work, but when we cut down our current institutions, what do we replace them with??

    I’ve read that tasks forces in companies can do a lot of good, let’s learn more about that. Also, how do we get our corporate HR departments to get on board with our discoveries?

  13. Lyonside wrote:

    This is a frustrating topic for me - my company isn’t large enough to warrant diversity training or a lot of the corporate speak. We’ve only recently gotten corporate, and our company culture is fiercely informal except when needed (we just had a months-long Jenga tournament).

    That said, for being a former DBE (woman-owned, now larger and employee-owned), we are woefully undiverse. While our gender ratio is 1:1 overall, our ethnic diversity is horrible. Most of the employees are generally liberal by nature or profession (try being an archaeologist or a biologist and holding a rigid view of the world - it happens, but rarely). But of course, Race (and racism) happens.

    It’s subtle, but present. A few stupid comments from new employees don’t get challenged the way they should be. As one (of two) visible minority in my office, I’ve even been guilty of this, because the person in question was technically at a higher level than me and brand new. It also feels unsolvable, because incidents are rare and minor.

    I often wonder if the general cluelessness has anything to do with the low-level dissatisfaction I feel. They’re not doing anything WRONG, per se, but they’re not doing anything RIGHT either.

  14. Ji In wrote:

    I think your points are right on, Carmen. At the last large corporation I worked for, for five years, there was a “diversity committee” that was responsible for things like diversity training and “Diversity Week,” which was, I would say, more about fulfilling obligations and toeing the legal line than about sincerely raising awareness and opening up a dialogue regarding discrimination and prejudice — whether race, gender or sexual orientation.

    Not surprisingly, the diversity committee was composed entirely of white females (mostly from marketing and sales). The committee head campaigned hard core to get me and another person of color in my workgroup to join — a prime illustration of your third bullet point (using POC to educate white people about racism). Neither of us jumped. Rumor had it that they had made up a list of POC and gay employees whom they attempted to recruit.

    The material they drew their trainings and Diversity Week “activities” from was adapted from yet another diversity committee in another division of our corporation. I found out that the entire program was written by a white female marketing assistant with help from the legal department. I can’t recall all of the ridiculous things involved, but I do remember an “ethnic foods” potluck buffet, and somebody wearing a sombrero.

    Thank gawd I now work freelance from home.

  15. Evil HR Lady wrote:

    I have to say, I disagree with this: racist ideals are disseminated by the very structures and systems upon which this country is built.

    If your beginning position is that the structure is racist then breaking down racism becomes impossible. Therefore, it will always be unfair and unjust and any problem can be blamed on the racist structure.

    This prevents people from looking at their own lives and changing what needs to be changed. (After all, I must feel this way because my entire society is unbalanced. Not my fault and there’s nothing I can do anyway.)

  16. Carmen Van Kerckhove wrote:

    Evil HR Lady, thanks for your comment!

    What I’m getting at in that core belief is that racism is not just a collection of individual acts of rudeness. There *is* such a thing as institutional racism, and it’s important to address that.

    I am not advocating that people should blame everything on institutional racism and not examine themselves. Each person absolutely must work on themselves.

    We all hold racist beliefs, whether they are conscious or subconscious. Why? Because we have been inundated throughout our entire lives with racist stereotypes perpetuated by the media and other social institutions. Having racist beliefs doesn’t make you an evil person. But we each need to work on ourselves to overcome these beliefs.

    In order to work against racism, you first have to learn how to see it. Start taking a critical look at pop culture, for instance, and analyze what kinds of messages are being disseminated about different racial groups.

  17. Evil HR Lady wrote:

    But if you are constantly on the look out for racism, doesn’t that guarentee that you’ll find it? I am not, by the way, arguing that racism doesn’t exit. I’m arguing that being constantly on the lookout for it causes you to see it when it is not there.

    Take a television show. What race is the bad guy? Well, he has to be SOME race. If he happens to be black, is that racism? What if he’s white? Is that racism?

    The answer to that question would depend on a lot more than just the knowledge that an evil character was of a certain race. If we make all villains white males, so as to not offend, then we prevent people of color from obtaining roles as actors. Is that racist?

    I just think we’re a lot happier if we don’t go looking for reasons to be offended. I’m a member of an unpopular religion. If I got my knickers in a twist every time someone said something “bad” about my church, I’d spend a lot of time with twisted knickers. And, as we know, it’s very hard to accomplish anything in that state.

    I would be fascinated to hear your presentations. I do think racism is a problem and I think you are on the innovative side of confronting it. Great post and thoughts.

  18. Angel H. wrote:

    But if you are constantly on the look out for racism, doesn’t that guarentee that you’ll find it? I am not, by the way, arguing that racism doesn’t exit. I’m arguing that being constantly on the lookout for it causes you to see it when it is not there.

    But being blind to racism means that you don’t recognize it when you see it.

    When I was growing up, my mother told me that I would always have to work twice as hard as “the little white girl sitting next to me” because there would be people out there who would prejudge me based on the color of my skin. This doesn’t meaan that I’m always looking for an excuse to shout, “Call the NAACP!” It means that as a woman of color, I’ve got to watch my back because no one else will.

    Take a television show. What race is the bad guy? Well, he has to be SOME race. If he happens to be black, is that racism? What if he’s white? Is that racism?

    If every villain, every thug, every bad guy on television is Black, then yes, it is racist. If the misdeeds of the people of one race are highlighted more than those of any other race, or their positive contributions are diminished, then yes, that’s racism.

    Take the Muslim religion, for example. They are portrayed as terrorists on television, in movies, and in the news you constantly hear about Muslim militants and Muslim extremists. I hear so many nasty and ignorant things about Muslims because of what is said over the media that it sickens me. But what the media doesn’t say is that the extremists make up only a very small portion of those who follow the Muslim faith. By portraying them as the bad guys, instead of offering the full story, that is discrimination.

    I just think we’re a lot happier if we don’t go looking for reasons to be offended.

    If people don’t get offended, then changes won’t get made. Not so long ago, somebody was offended that women couldn’t vote and hold property in their names. Not so long ago, somebody got offended that Blacks were being sold on the auction block covered with chains. If people didn’t “get their knickers in a twist” and ignored happening in the world, then things would - how should I put this? - majorly suck for most of us.

  19. Charles wrote:

    “But if you are constantly on the look out for racism, doesn’t that guarentee that you’ll find it?”

    No. It doesn’t guarantee that you will find it where none exists. Women shouldn’t refrain from getting mammograms because they might not like the result. And just because some doctors have made some misdiagnosis doesn’t mean that we should stop looking for the cancer either. Awareness to racism and bigotry is a GOOD THING. It is the only way that we can fix it. It goes much deeper than merely “being offended” it has to do with always striving to create a fairer society.

  20. Charles wrote:

    I also thought that this was an excellent article on all points. And while I wholeheartedly agree that diversity training should ideally train individuals to confront and examine our own biases, I might still argue that there is SOME value in people hiding their racism because bigotry can be so contagious. Even if one doesn’t change there is a small victory in stopping the “spread of germs”. To illustrate this point, I am reminded of the Tim Hardaway’s anti-gay comments in February. Directly afterward former NBA player John Amaechi reported a great upsurge in hateful emails. It seems that Hardaway empowered others to act out on their pre-existing bigotry. Moral of story: Plan A is always to try to change Hardaway, but if that fails, I would prefer that he stay in the bigoted closet.

  21. Anon wrote:

    Have you seen this?

    “A company that provides translation services and cultural sensitivity training to other organizations is being accused of sex discrimination and racial insensitivity in its own ranks.”

    “To bolster her discrimination complaint with the state, Kelly included photos allegedly showing the company’s top two human resources executives dressed up for the 2005 corporate Halloween party as a black pimp and a white prostitute. The “pimp,” a white woman wearing blackface and sporting a fake gold tooth, won the prize for best costume, the complaint said.”

    http://ads.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8PMRCTO0.htm

  22. On the Outside wrote:

    After reading the article, (and this is only my opinion) diversity train can be a tool to open the door to cultural diversity. This not to say that everyone will benefit from the training because they are taught from a young age that things are the way they are just because. As a child advocate, I find that the system seems to have it’s picks and chooses of what is considered abuse amoung children of color Vs none colored children. Is this racisim? Abuse is abuse no matter what color it comes in. Education with expectations are the key to teaching diversity. Every culture is differnet in it’s own right, but we all have feeings, values, beliefs, and morals. Common Sense should kick in when dealing with the multifacet groups in the workplace and society. Therefore, what we are taught as children mayor may not be socially accepted. Teaching cultural diversity just through the eyes of colored people defeats the purpose because every race, sex, gender, reigion nd etc… experience some form of racisim, stereotyping, labelling, etc. No one group is eliminated.

    http://www.employment-studies.co.uk/press/0301.php

  23. Anonymous wrote:

    Since when does the word diversity automatically mean racism?? Diversity is a simple concept - it means that there are differences. Now, you can choose to treat differences by inclusion or exclusion. My theory is it’s work, for gawd’s sake. At work, there are rules, and laws. Rules are usually created in order to prevent chaos and to comply with laws. If someone chooses to not-comply, then HR and/or managment structures should be concerned about how to correct the non-compliance and how to prevent its recurrence.

    Inclusion is the simplest way to accomodate diversity. It simply means that all people regardless of any apparent difference is treated no differently than any other. Exclusion, the most complicated means that there are special things for people who are different. Young ethnic professionals get fast-jumped or mentoring programs. Everyone gets “diversity” training. Hiring to replace a white middle-aged male is focused specifically on finding a person with definable ethnicity. Can’t people be hired for who they are - not what statistical demographic they represent?

    Sorry, I came of age in the 70’s when many professional women were still treated as though the secret of making a good cup of coffee was the only knowledge they had conquered and yet, I am horrified by the exclusion process in teh workplace, couched by the phrase “diversity management”. You know, just treat people the way you want and expect to be treated. With respect, with courtesy and with integrity.

  24. Lisa Hicks wrote:

    Diversity training is sweeping Great Britain and I have reservations and suspicions about it. I do not believe it covers anything that could not be dealt with by learning old-fashioned good manners, politeness, common courtesy and the priciple of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
    From what I have deduced, I predict it is only a matter of time before some diversity training schemes are persued for mental or psychological abuse.

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