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Columnist: What if Diversity Trainings Are Doing More Harm Than Good?

Columnist: What if Diversity Trainings Are Doing More Harm Than Good?

“If diversity trainings have no impact whatsoever, that would mean that perhaps billions of dollars are being wasted annually in the United States on these efforts.”

Diversity training is a waste of time. It’s just part of a new progressive industry.

Jesse Singal writes at the NY Times:

What if Diversity Trainings Are Doing More Harm Than Good?

Diversity trainings have been around for decades, long before the country’s latest round of racial reckoning. But after George Floyd’s murder — as companies faced pressure to demonstrate a commitment to racial justice — interest in the diversity, equity and inclusion (D.E.I.) industry exploded. The American market reached an estimated $3.4 billion in 2020.

D.E.I. trainings are designed to help organizations become more welcoming to members of traditionally marginalized groups. Advocates make bold promises: Diversity workshops can foster better intergroup relations, improve the retention of minority employees, close recruitment gaps and so on.

The only problem? There’s little evidence that many of these initiatives work. And the specific type of diversity training that is currently in vogue — mandatory trainings that blame dominant groups for D.E.I. problems — may well have a net-negative effect on the outcomes managers claim to care about.

Over the years, social scientists who have conducted careful reviews of the evidence base for diversity trainings have frequently come to discouraging conclusions. Though diversity trainings have been around in one form or another since at least the 1960s, few of them are ever subjected to rigorous evaluation, and those that are mostly appear to have little or no positive long-term effects. The lack of evidence is “disappointing,” wrote Elizabeth Levy Paluck of Princeton and her co-authors in a 2021 Annual Review of Psychology article, “considering the frequency with which calls for diversity training emerge in the wake of widely publicized instances of discriminatory conduct.”

Dr. Paluck’s team found just two large experimental studies in the previous decade that attempted to evaluate the effects of diversity trainings and met basic quality benchmarks. Other researchers have been similarly unimpressed. “We have been speaking to employers about this research for more than a decade,” wrote the sociologists Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev in 2018, “with the message that diversity training is likely the most expensive, and least effective, diversity program around.” (To be fair, not all of these critiques apply as sharply to voluntary diversity trainings.)

If diversity trainings have no impact whatsoever, that would mean that perhaps billions of dollars are being wasted annually in the United States on these efforts. But there’s a darker possibility: Some diversity initiatives might actually worsen the D.E.I. climates of the organizations that pay for them.

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The Gentle Grizzly | January 21, 2023 at 11:10 am

These programs were designed from the start to cause trouble.

So, NYT has finally admitted a small portion of the truth. Give them another fifty years or so and they might actually figure out that this stuff is, and always has been, a scam. It’s about the money. Any side effects, good or bad, are of no interest to the scammers,


 
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BierceAmbrose | January 21, 2023 at 2:08 pm

Billions of dollars wasted? Amateurs.


 
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amatuerwrangler | January 21, 2023 at 7:41 pm

Nothing more than “reeducation camps” for the designated fall-guy to endure. They just cause a supervisor who identified and attempted to correct unsatisfactory performance and was called racist to, on the next opportunity to try to get a worker to “do it right” , just let it slide and let management deal with the fallout from a bad product.

Of course, the training is conducted by people of the aggrieved group for a contracted supplier owned by the same aggrieved group, so it boils down to a money transfer from the business to the aggrieved group.

I complement them for their ability to tap into the profits of viable businesses by providing bullshit.

No different than “traffic school” to settle your ticket. No good drivers are created there.


 
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henrybowman | January 21, 2023 at 10:07 pm

In the spirit of “Think of governments as gangs with flags,” I offer:
Think of DEI training as COVID masks for the soul.

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