“the typical DEI training doesn’t educate people about bias and may even do harm”
Mahzarin Banaji and Frank Dobbin, a psychologist and a sociologist, have studied DEI training for years and they say it doesn’t work.
They write at the Wall Street Journal:
Why DEI Training Doesn’t Work—and How to Fix It
At least 30 states are considering legislation to defund DEI initiatives in public universities and state agencies. At the same time, conservative activists, emboldened by the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in college admissions, are suing companies to stop DEI initiatives. These challenges come on the heels of the growth of corporate DEI programs after the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020.
Meanwhile, advocates for DEI—which stands for diversity, equity and inclusion—have bemoaned the fact that after decades of diversity training, many university faculties, state agencies and corporations have made little progress on diversifying the workforce.
Are the right and the left on the same page here—is diversity training a hopeless cause?
We are a psychologist and a sociologist who have been studying bias and organizational diversity programs, respectively, for decades. The research makes it clear that Americans desperately need education about bias, because even people who value fairness and equality hold biases—without being aware of it. They need to understand that bias operates systemically and must be addressed at the individual, institutional and societal levels.
Education offered on these matters is very much in the national spirit. As Alexis de Tocqueville noted in “Democracy in America” in 1835: “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”…
It’s not hard to conclude from all these studies that we are not the land of opportunity for everyone we claim to be. An enlightened society should see that education about the prevalence of discrimination is imperative. In fact, it would be downright dumb not to educate people.
But, as Dobbin and Kalev have shown, the typical DEI training doesn’t educate people about bias and may even do harm.
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