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Diversity Development And Education Training

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It's my office's turn for our new, mandatory, 4 hours of "Diversity Development & Education" training. To set the tone, the following metaphor, as well as the lesson we are to learn from the metaphor, is printed in the introductory workbook:

Introduction:

There is an ancient parable of a king who decides to celebrate his birthday by hosting an enormous banquet for his entire kingdom. He sends out dozens of envoys to proclaim the day and time of the event, adding that while a gift is not required, each attendee must bring with him a jug of wine. At the onset of the event, the jugs are to be combined in a voluminous cauldron from which glasses will be filled for all to drink and be merry. However, the town baker, busily kneading and folding the dough in his shop, decides he doesn't’t really have time to leave and visit the shop that sells spirits. Instead, he figures he can just fill a jug with water and quickly pour it into the cauldron without anyone’s notice. Well, on the day of the celebration, all the king’s subjects fill into the hall and pour their jugs’ contents into the vat, and our noble baker slyly does the same. The king stirs the contents, holds the first glass up to his lips, and drinks. Seconds later, his glass sails through the air. Enraged, he screams out. “Water!”

In this story, the baker did not make the effort to briefly change his lifestyle and counted on the rest of the kingdom to contribute real jugs of wine. He did not believe in the power of the individual and figured the rest of the citizens would do their part and the secret would stay with him solely. However, as was later discovered, he was not alone. Not a single subject had bothered to bring the wine, and consequently, the blend was uniform and tasteless. As we can see, the individual does matter. Here, one person could have made a difference by bringing along a single jug of wine, and that by itself would have added a distinct taste to the mixture. This “taste” is what multiculturalism is all about. The different jugs of wine represent the diversity of society’s individuals, the different “tastes” of our culture. Unlike the parable, we must not combine our differences into one “melting pot,” averaging out the different tastes into one unrecognizable sum, but rather we affirm the value of each individual, blending his special flavors and strengths with the rest to create a pleasing whole.

Of course, this is amusing, if not jaw dropping. However, this Diversity training is taught by true believers, who put their heart into the materials, (3 workbooks, approx. 35 pages each, chalk full of skewed logic, package deal, agreement frame checklists, and unrealistic, forced behavior, group activities) and whose sole job is to train all corporate levels, in all 50 states, as well as update company policy, setting the tone, and atmosphere, for our workplace.

I found this fascinating, and really something to chew on, or apart! Hope you liked it.

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Perfect. I didn't think of it in that context. I have decided to irrationally co-operate for the time being. Defection is in the near future.

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It's not necessarily irrational to cooperate. Sometimes in our irrational society we have to do things we don't like (assuming we're not sacrificing ourselves). Sure its a waste of time to go to diversity training, but most major corporations will make you do it, and you get a better value in return: your job and the income you earn from it. If your boss made a mandatory picnic on Saturday, you might go to it even though its a waste of time. Think of this "class" as the same thing.

It's a minor thing unless it greatly affects more important values (ie. it is preventing you from doing your job). Of course, if there were an equal company that could offer you an equal job minus the diversity training, I'd say take it. But likely there will be more factors involved.

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I am wondering, because I might be subject to this atrocity one day, and because I’m curious of how “tolerant” diversity advocates are towards those with a diversity of opinion rather than skin color, how much interaction goes on at this seminar? Are the opinions being presented ever openly discussed?

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It's not necessarily irrational to cooperate.  Sometimes in our irrational society we have to do things we don't like (assuming we're not sacrificing ourselves).  Sure its a waste of time to go to diversity training, but most major corporations will make you do it, and you get a better value in return: your job and the income you earn from it.  If your boss made a mandatory picnic on Saturday, you might go to it even though its a waste of time.  Think of this "class" as the same thing.

But this is precisely how it relates to the prisoner's dillema. It is in your short term interest to cooperate (attend the seminar/picnic), so you do. Everyone else does likewise. The long-term result is the current vapid irrational corporate world where 'diversity training' and 'company picnics' are the norm, even though almost noone really wants them.

If everyone refused to attend such events, they would have to stop due to lack of participation. However since on an individual level it is in most people's best interest to attend, they normally will.

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Sounds like a prisoner's dillema type scenario.

Not really. These companies are running these seminars as legal protection against discrimination law suits which can run into the 10's of millions. You want to end these stupid seminars, which the companies themselves probably realize are stupid, abolish the stupid discrimination laws!

Fred Weiss

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I work at a largish company and we had compulsory diversity training last year...

I managed to get out of it by simply not going to my session, but at the same time not making a big deal out of it. i.e. I didn't stand up and say "this is racist and I want no part" - I simply stayed at my desk at session time. My manager knew I had not gone but did not want to make a big deal about it.

I suspect that would be true of a lot of companies - they say the employees must go but in the end they're not going to force any one, and probably not discipline you if you quietly avoid it.

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If you want to look at the positive too, going to the diversity training gives you more intellectual ammunition about why they are wrong. After all, now you can say "they SAY this is what they support, it's truly what they believe. here's why its wrong". It's not much of a benefit, but you can still get something out of it.

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I work at a largish company and we had compulsory diversity training last year...

I managed to get out of it by simply not going to my session, but at the same time not making a big deal out of it. i.e. I didn't stand up and say "this is racist and I want no part" - I simply stayed at my desk at session time. My manager knew I had not gone but did not want to make a big deal about it.

I suspect that would be true of a lot of companies - they say the employees must go but in the end they're not going to force any one, and probably not discipline you if you quietly avoid it.

Since this is my first time, I'm treating this as an exercise in discovery. My group will contain a top to bottom mixture of the org chart hierarchy, from most all areas in the company. 20 of us will be sitting in a conference room for 4 hours, watching power-point slides, round tabling biased scenarios, from the news, and participating in group exercises, with multi-colored beads, and emotionalized communication tools, such as the "Rolling the D.I.E." (appropriately named). I'm actually a fascinated by the whole thing.

I'm reading "Racism", "Global Balkanization", "The Age of Envy", and whatever else Ayn Rand has on the subject. It's a change to compare and contrast.

It's also astonishing, that the language of the materials is so ideologically implicit. What comes out through the childish parable, is that the Baker, as an individual, has to go against his nature, and his conceptual level values, and "briefly change his lifestyle", thereby occupying himself, with a perceptual level, physical "tastes" object, in order to sacrifice it, and he, to a Collective, "pleasing whole", presided over, and controlled by, a whim-worshiping, irrational King.

I don't think my company realizes who is the Baker, and who is the King.

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