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Mandatory diversity training

Maikuru
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2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At each university I've attended and business I've worked for, sexual harassment training was mandatory. These sessions have varied from workshops to videos to live plays to Q&A's.

What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?
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Maikuru
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2/22/2016 3:45:52 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 3:42:58 PM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com...

LOL best episode of the series.

If there was ever a spokesman for the need of diversity training, it would be Michael Scott. Sadly, his kind of thinking isn't too far from reality.
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YYW
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2/22/2016 4:12:31 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
I can't think of any member of the business community I have ever met that would willingly spend money on diversity training. There are two ways I can see it ever coming about, outside the academic community: (1) as part of a settlement agreement for some 1983 (or other civil rights) law suit; or (2) to preempt lawsuits.

When I was getting my Ph.D., before I could teach I had to take a diversity and inclusion seminar. The whole thing was idiotic; too much talk of "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" (yes, even before it was cool).

In academia, the idea is something that's reasonably in vogue; outside of that, no one cares, and for good reason.

Part of the reason why so few people with black names even get interviews, though, is because of the risks associated with interviewing such candidates and then not hiring them. There's a lot of legal liability that attaches to that, which in reality hurts minority job candidates.
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Cody_Franklin
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2/22/2016 4:22:59 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
I'd say no, unless they've since discovered a super-effective method for building sensitivity.

Most mandatory training I've ever attended is absurdly unengaging--the instructor's behavior almost always betrays that they, too, are likely not there by choice (or have all the charisma of a wet blanket). I've seen it in drug and alcohol awareness, sexual conduct training, team-building workshops, diversity programs--there's always been this niggling back-of-mind feeling that it's forced and inauthentic. True, it teaches you by rote practice to say the right words and mechanically reenact some imposed social choreography, but is that really going to light a fire under people to try in earnest to do better? $50 says it does not.
YYW
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2/22/2016 4:30:53 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 4:22:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I'd say no, unless they've since discovered a super-effective method for building sensitivity.

Most mandatory training I've ever attended is absurdly unengaging--the instructor's behavior almost always betrays that they, too, are likely not there by choice (or have all the charisma of a wet blanket). I've seen it in drug and alcohol awareness, sexual conduct training, team-building workshops, diversity programs--there's always been this niggling back-of-mind feeling that it's forced and inauthentic. True, it teaches you by rote practice to say the right words and mechanically reenact some imposed social choreography, but is that really going to light a fire under people to try in earnest to do better? $50 says it does not.

It actually has the opposite effect, based on some studies. Mandatory diversity training tends to make people more observably racist, but the way that racism manifests is more insidious.

I'll try to find the research, but I really don't care enough about the subject to spend more than five minutes on it because it's so intuitively obvious.

Mandatory diversity training is pretty much an idiotic idea supported only by those who lack the foresight to anticipate its consequences.
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Maikuru
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2/22/2016 4:33:52 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 4:22:59 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I'd say no, unless they've since discovered a super-effective method for building sensitivity.

Most mandatory training I've ever attended is absurdly unengaging--the instructor's behavior almost always betrays that they, too, are likely not there by choice (or have all the charisma of a wet blanket). I've seen it in drug and alcohol awareness, sexual conduct training, team-building workshops, diversity programs--there's always been this niggling back-of-mind feeling that it's forced and inauthentic. True, it teaches you by rote practice to say the right words and mechanically reenact some imposed social choreography, but is that really going to light a fire under people to try in earnest to do better? $50 says it does not.

I had a similar initial reaction. The sexual harassment training I've undergone has been largely apathetic and boring, though the most recent one was quite entertaining (it involved a live play and a lot of humor). Obviously this didn't change my mind about harassing anyone (as that was never the plan) and I'm not sure if it would have had it been my inclination to do so.

However, some comments I've been hearing from my students are making me reconsider. The majority of undergrads come from highly segregated schools and communities, which can make the ethnic/racial diversity they encounter when attending university a startling and unsettling experience. For many of them, my class was their first experience with cultural discussions (a number of these students are seniors), and I'm being hit with questions and concerns that may have been resolved much earlier had they been exposed to some straight forward exposure and information.

The university has begun requiring freshman to take a diversity and equity course, and I'm planning to collect data from students on its usefulness. I'll let everyone know how it goes haha
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Maikuru
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2/22/2016 5:28:51 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
As far as my opinion goes, I believe traditional mandatory diversity training is not very effective. Making something mandatory can backfire in terms of participant engagement, and the controversial nature of the topic might further seclude the uninterested or uncertain.

What individuals need are opportunities to work with diverse peers, communicate with each other, and become enlightened about cultural differences. The problem, of course, is that all too often, this either does not happen naturally or when it does, the results are negative. People often push back against the idea of needing to expand their cultural perspectives, and schools/businesses see the results in forms of lawsuits, poor climate, and self-segregation.

I'm wondering what a better system may look like.
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Cody_Franklin
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2/22/2016 6:29:38 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
Honestly, I think that this type of thing might be the only type of "safe space" that has any social legitimacy--a place where anyone and everyone can come, feel like they won't be berated, and ask basically anything without fear of policing or reprisal. That includes questions which evince serious cultural ignorance.

It is true that, betting on the average, many such questions may well come from a place of deep ignorance. But, for the purpose of working together, I think that the exasperation and annoyance that members of less-understood groups might feel would be more productively put aside. Functioning as a unit is impossible if people just start accusing each other of asking questions in bad faith, or insisting that ______ privilege be thoroughly checked, etc. In my experience, trying to use one's own putative moral high ground to establish an adversarial environment, whether you believe it's justified or not in some wider systemic context, is 100% counterproductive to the final objective of harmonious social relations. That is to say, irrespective of the moral status of "righteous anger" or whatever, it's just bad strategy to rely on that in an environment where people of all levels of knowledge are trying, more or less earnestly (it's even poorer strategy to make any other assumption than "everyone else is roughly as well-meaning as you imagine yourself to be") just to understand each other.

That's one reason I think lectures on the subject are generally a poor attack vector. Lectures usually imply "you are deficient in your knowledge on this subject, and I will remedy it by teaching you". When it comes to math, or history, or "clean" subjects, nobody really objects because it's not personal. But when you assert to a person that they need training in cultural sensitivity, or in sexual conduct, I think it can rub a lot of people the wrong way, because those point to moral deficiencies in addition to epistemic ones. If you let people ask their own questions, dumb though some might be, as opposed to dictating to people how to speak and behave, it's basically the Inception Principle: people are much, much likelier to warm up to novel thinking if they're convinced doing so is their idea.
someloser
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2/22/2016 6:46:49 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

What would "diversity training" consist of? It's not as clear-cut as sexual harassment.
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Vox_Veritas
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2/22/2016 8:21:14 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
Diversity Training is only an okay idea as long as it doesn't revolve around a single group being taught to respect another group and/or recognize one's inherent "privilege".
That is, if employees have to be given training on sexual harassment then both males and females should have to undergo it, seeing as how both can be the perpetrators and victims of it.
Though it's more one-sided, it is also possible for men to be the victims of sexual assault and for women to be the aggressors. It's even possible for women to rape men (in rare cases, but still).
If it's just "men, don't sexually harass or rape someone" or "women, here's how to respond to sexual harassment or rape", then that's totally unacceptable. It treats the male gender as the bad guy and is inherently discriminatory in nature.
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Hoppi
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2/22/2016 10:59:51 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
At each university I've attended and business I've worked for, sexual harassment training was mandatory. These sessions have varied from workshops to videos to live plays to Q&A's.

What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

Sexual harassment training is often about legal issues. Like, what constitutes sexual harassment - that way nobody can claim ignorance later on when issues arise. If diversity training has the same purpose then, okay. Let's do it.

If diversity training is about something more subtle, such as creating an inclusive environment where people are all treated with respect and openness, etc., then I'm not sure that diversity training would work.

There's this poster at work, where there's cartoon person ordering coffee and they say, "I'd like a bla...I mean, a coffee without milk!" And then in big letters it says OH NO! ACCIDENTAL MICROAGGRESSION!

What exactly is being achieved with this poster? Telling people not to be socially awkward? Surely, the added pressure isn't going to help with that. Further, the example, is of someone getting too racially conscious, so again, the poster is just going to make that worse. And finally, if someone makes a mistake like that, they realize it. They feel embarrassed, so this poster isn't adding anything. I honestly can't see any purpose to this poster.

Similarly, with diversity training. Yes, racism exists and it can express itself in lots of subtle ways that can have a powerful effect when they add up. Yes, those issues should be addressed. But, I'd like to see a more detailed mechanism by which diversity training can actually help. Otherwise, we end up with crap like this poster, which just makes things worse. Or maybe it doesn't. If there's some effect that I'm not seeing, please tell me so I can be less annoyed.
lamerde
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2/22/2016 11:27:04 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 10:59:51 PM, Hoppi wrote:

There's this poster at work, where there's cartoon person ordering coffee and they say, "I'd like a bla...I mean, a coffee without milk!" And then in big letters it says OH NO! ACCIDENTAL MICROAGGRESSION!

What exactly is being achieved with this poster? Telling people not to be socially awkward? Surely, the added pressure isn't going to help with that. Further, the example, is of someone getting too racially conscious, so again, the poster is just going to make that worse. And finally, if someone makes a mistake like that, they realize it. They feel embarrassed, so this poster isn't adding anything. I honestly can't see any purpose to this poster.

It sounds like the poster is mocking people who believe microaggressions are problematic. It's basically thett's trolling in a poster.
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Hoppi
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2/22/2016 11:28:04 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 11:27:04 PM, lamerde wrote:
At 2/22/2016 10:59:51 PM, Hoppi wrote:

There's this poster at work, where there's cartoon person ordering coffee and they say, "I'd like a bla...I mean, a coffee without milk!" And then in big letters it says OH NO! ACCIDENTAL MICROAGGRESSION!

What exactly is being achieved with this poster? Telling people not to be socially awkward? Surely, the added pressure isn't going to help with that. Further, the example, is of someone getting too racially conscious, so again, the poster is just going to make that worse. And finally, if someone makes a mistake like that, they realize it. They feel embarrassed, so this poster isn't adding anything. I honestly can't see any purpose to this poster.

It sounds like the poster is mocking people who believe microaggressions are problematic. It's basically thett's trolling in a poster.

lmao. I know. But it's serious.
Hoppi
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2/22/2016 11:32:18 PM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 11:28:04 PM, Hoppi wrote:
At 2/22/2016 11:27:04 PM, lamerde wrote:
At 2/22/2016 10:59:51 PM, Hoppi wrote:

There's this poster at work, where there's cartoon person ordering coffee and they say, "I'd like a bla...I mean, a coffee without milk!" And then in big letters it says OH NO! ACCIDENTAL MICROAGGRESSION!

What exactly is being achieved with this poster? Telling people not to be socially awkward? Surely, the added pressure isn't going to help with that. Further, the example, is of someone getting too racially conscious, so again, the poster is just going to make that worse. And finally, if someone makes a mistake like that, they realize it. They feel embarrassed, so this poster isn't adding anything. I honestly can't see any purpose to this poster.

It sounds like the poster is mocking people who believe microaggressions are problematic. It's basically thett's trolling in a poster.

lmao. I know. But it's serious.

You know what I think? I think they got the communications department to do a serious of posters, and they were like, wtf are microaggressions? And so they looked online and then made these posters.
Maikuru
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2/23/2016 1:39:56 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 6:29:38 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Honestly, I think that this type of thing might be the only type of "safe space" that has any social legitimacy--a place where anyone and everyone can come, feel like they won't be berated, and ask basically anything without fear of policing or reprisal. That includes questions which evince serious cultural ignorance.

I think a variety of "safe spaces" have value, but I am a fan of spaces where people can openly and honestly share their questions and confusions about cultural issues. A white friend recently contacted me with questions about how and when it is appropriate to engage in diversity discussions, etc. I think that kind of legitimate interest should be encouraged.

It is true that, betting on the average, many such questions may well come from a place of deep ignorance. But, for the purpose of working together, I think that the exasperation and annoyance that members of less-understood groups might feel would be more productively put aside. Functioning as a unit is impossible if people just start accusing each other of asking questions in bad faith, or insisting that ______ privilege be thoroughly checked, etc. In my experience, trying to use one's own putative moral high ground to establish an adversarial environment, whether you believe it's justified or not in some wider systemic context, is 100% counterproductive to the final objective of harmonious social relations. That is to say, irrespective of the moral status of "righteous anger" or whatever, it's just bad strategy to rely on that in an environment where people of all levels of knowledge are trying, more or less earnestly (it's even poorer strategy to make any other assumption than "everyone else is roughly as well-meaning as you imagine yourself to be") just to understand each other.

Common understanding should certainly be a goal, though for members of marginalized groups, it is often easier said than done to function in an instructional role. That is why I agree with your sentiment of having structures in place to openly educate on diversity topics. Perhaps this is what diversity training should look like? It certainly shouldn't be every minority individual's responsibility to educate the uninformed.

That's one reason I think lectures on the subject are generally a poor attack vector. Lectures usually imply "you are deficient in your knowledge on this subject, and I will remedy it by teaching you". When it comes to math, or history, or "clean" subjects, nobody really objects because it's not personal. But when you assert to a person that they need training in cultural sensitivity, or in sexual conduct, I think it can rub a lot of people the wrong way, because those point to moral deficiencies in addition to epistemic ones. If you let people ask their own questions, dumb though some might be, as opposed to dictating to people how to speak and behave, it's basically the Inception Principle: people are much, much likelier to warm up to novel thinking if they're convinced doing so is their idea.

Discussion- and exposure-based formats definitely have the advantage here. Nobody wants to be instructed on how to think.
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Maikuru
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2/23/2016 1:41:58 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 6:46:49 PM, someloser wrote:
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

What would "diversity training" consist of? It's not as clear-cut as sexual harassment.

Great question. I'm not sure. I suspect it would largely depend on the context, though an emphasis on communication, cultural understanding, and group problem-solving might be good cornerstones.

What do you think it could consist of that would make it worthwhile?
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Maikuru
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2/23/2016 1:43:27 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 8:21:14 PM, Vox_Veritas wrote:
Diversity Training is only an okay idea as long as it doesn't revolve around a single group being taught to respect another group and/or recognize one's inherent "privilege".
That is, if employees have to be given training on sexual harassment then both males and females should have to undergo it, seeing as how both can be the perpetrators and victims of it.
Though it's more one-sided, it is also possible for men to be the victims of sexual assault and for women to be the aggressors. It's even possible for women to rape men (in rare cases, but still).
If it's just "men, don't sexually harass or rape someone" or "women, here's how to respond to sexual harassment or rape", then that's totally unacceptable. It treats the male gender as the bad guy and is inherently discriminatory in nature.

I agree. I don't think anything resembling "How to get along with minorities" does much good. We all maintain multiple identities, so any worthwhile diversity training should involve attaining mutual understanding.
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Maikuru
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2/23/2016 1:44:17 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 10:59:51 PM, Hoppi wrote:
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
At each university I've attended and business I've worked for, sexual harassment training was mandatory. These sessions have varied from workshops to videos to live plays to Q&A's.

What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

Sexual harassment training is often about legal issues. Like, what constitutes sexual harassment - that way nobody can claim ignorance later on when issues arise. If diversity training has the same purpose then, okay. Let's do it.

If diversity training is about something more subtle, such as creating an inclusive environment where people are all treated with respect and openness, etc., then I'm not sure that diversity training would work.

There's this poster at work, where there's cartoon person ordering coffee and they say, "I'd like a bla...I mean, a coffee without milk!" And then in big letters it says OH NO! ACCIDENTAL MICROAGGRESSION!

What exactly is being achieved with this poster? Telling people not to be socially awkward? Surely, the added pressure isn't going to help with that. Further, the example, is of someone getting too racially conscious, so again, the poster is just going to make that worse. And finally, if someone makes a mistake like that, they realize it. They feel embarrassed, so this poster isn't adding anything. I honestly can't see any purpose to this poster.

Similarly, with diversity training. Yes, racism exists and it can express itself in lots of subtle ways that can have a powerful effect when they add up. Yes, those issues should be addressed. But, I'd like to see a more detailed mechanism by which diversity training can actually help. Otherwise, we end up with crap like this poster, which just makes things worse. Or maybe it doesn't. If there's some effect that I'm not seeing, please tell me so I can be less annoyed.

lol that sounds ridiculous. Can you take a picture of it?
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YYW
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2/23/2016 4:16:33 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
Being at a public or mainstream private university exposed to the disgusting culture of political correctness is sufficient diversity training for anyone. Dartmouth, Fordham, Oberlin, Amherst, Berkley, etc. They're all infected with this trash.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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2/23/2016 4:20:45 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
At each university I've attended and business I've worked for, sexual harassment training was mandatory. These sessions have varied from workshops to videos to live plays to Q&A's.

What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

Depends on what the "Content" in this training is supposed to cover. What do you intend to teach at a mandatory diversity training class exactly?
YYW
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2/23/2016 4:30:47 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 4:20:45 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Depends on what the "Content" in this training is supposed to cover. What do you intend to teach at a mandatory diversity training class exactly?

Presumably, how to avoid micro-aggressions, micro-invalidations, and micro-assaults.
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YYW
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2/23/2016 4:42:40 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 4:33:48 AM, lamerde wrote:
nac

I have no choice but to interpret this as a micro-invalidation. Perhaps we should subject you to some diversity training.
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Maikuru
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2/23/2016 5:42:36 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 4:20:45 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
At each university I've attended and business I've worked for, sexual harassment training was mandatory. These sessions have varied from workshops to videos to live plays to Q&A's.

What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

Depends on what the "Content" in this training is supposed to cover. What do you intend to teach at a mandatory diversity training class exactly?

Good question. Like I said above, it probably depends a lot on the context. As someloser pointed out (feels wrong saying that lol), sexual harassment training has a consistency to it that simplifies the instructional process. A lot of that has been shaped by lawsuits, so the situation with diversity training would necessarily look different. Beyond that, I don't think the rote approach seen with sexual harassment workshops would be much help in this scenario, anyway.

People have made good points about the need for diversity training that integrates discussion, openness, and the opportunity to ask questions and correct misconceptions. You presented some ideas previously about racism in the US, so I'm curious what you think a useful diversity training would look like. How would you implement it?
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someloser
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2/24/2016 2:32:37 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 1:41:58 AM, Maikuru wrote:
What do you think it could consist of that would make it worthwhile?

Ideally, an apolitical explanation of the cultural/racial differences which are most likely to cause problems between coworkers.

"Diversity training", or at least the sort I'm familiar with, is unfortunately chock-full of ideological bias and finger-pointing so far. It's really too bad, because in theory, it could be extremely helpful.
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Maikuru
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2/24/2016 3:32:55 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/24/2016 2:32:37 AM, someloser wrote:
At 2/23/2016 1:41:58 AM, Maikuru wrote:
What do you think it could consist of that would make it worthwhile?

Ideally, an apolitical explanation of the cultural/racial differences which are most likely to cause problems between coworkers.

"Diversity training", or at least the sort I'm familiar with, is unfortunately chock-full of ideological bias and finger-pointing so far. It's really too bad, because in theory, it could be extremely helpful.

Yeah, I'm with you. I think it would be beneficial to have a space where cultural differences can be discussed without judgement and in a context where everyone knows these conversations are for everyone's benefit. Is there a way to do that without people feeling guilty or uncomfortable or intimidated? I doubt it, but I'd like to see it tried.
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Hoppi
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2/24/2016 5:02:35 AM
Posted: 9 months ago
At 2/23/2016 1:44:17 AM, Maikuru wrote:
At 2/22/2016 10:59:51 PM, Hoppi wrote:
At 2/22/2016 3:10:40 PM, Maikuru wrote:
At each university I've attended and business I've worked for, sexual harassment training was mandatory. These sessions have varied from workshops to videos to live plays to Q&A's.

What about issues of diversity? Should schools and/or businesses offer or mandate diversity training?

Sexual harassment training is often about legal issues. Like, what constitutes sexual harassment - that way nobody can claim ignorance later on when issues arise. If diversity training has the same purpose then, okay. Let's do it.

If diversity training is about something more subtle, such as creating an inclusive environment where people are all treated with respect and openness, etc., then I'm not sure that diversity training would work.

There's this poster at work, where there's cartoon person ordering coffee and they say, "I'd like a bla...I mean, a coffee without milk!" And then in big letters it says OH NO! ACCIDENTAL MICROAGGRESSION!

What exactly is being achieved with this poster? Telling people not to be socially awkward? Surely, the added pressure isn't going to help with that. Further, the example, is of someone getting too racially conscious, so again, the poster is just going to make that worse. And finally, if someone makes a mistake like that, they realize it. They feel embarrassed, so this poster isn't adding anything. I honestly can't see any purpose to this poster.

Similarly, with diversity training. Yes, racism exists and it can express itself in lots of subtle ways that can have a powerful effect when they add up. Yes, those issues should be addressed. But, I'd like to see a more detailed mechanism by which diversity training can actually help. Otherwise, we end up with crap like this poster, which just makes things worse. Or maybe it doesn't. If there's some effect that I'm not seeing, please tell me so I can be less annoyed.

lol that sounds ridiculous. Can you take a picture of it?

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