Monday, January 21, 2008

Mandatory diversity training, or how to discriminate and get away with it

An article in yesterday's Washington Post reveals:
A comprehensive review of 31 years of data from 830 mid-size to large U.S. workplaces found that the kind of diversity training exercises offered at most firms were followed by a 7.5 percent drop in the number of women in management. The number of black, female managers fell by 10 percent, and the number of black men in top positions fell by 12 percent. Similar effects were seen for Latinos and Asians.
This should come as no surprise. Every mandatory diversity program I've been to has basically been a workshop in how to conceal discrimination. The harassment awareness programs have been workshops in how to harass someone legally, and how to cover it up when it happens. These programs are designed to mitigate liability for the employer; they are not the least bit concerned with ending discriminatory or harassing practices themselves. Small wonder that the result of such programs is to make discrimination and harassment more efficient.