Diversity Training: Lesson One

Off to Diversity Training class I go. The whole department was there, about fifty or more employees.

Our instructor was a lady from Texas named Diane Backwards. She was wearing a tight white long sleeve shirt and ankle length black skirt. Her appearance was very conservative. Diane seemed pretty stupid to me as soon as she opened her mouth and I found myself wondering which one of our corporate management fools hired her and the company she worked for. I expected this class was going to be a waste of Bill and Dave’s time and money. It was certainly a waste of my time. After going through what I did today and witnessing what happened in that conference room I’d say my expectations were dead on. Here’s what went down. We went through a series of fictional scenarios that openly encouraged hate and discrimination along racial, economic, and sexual lines. I have to hand it to whoever scripted the excercises because they packed in a ton of heavy duty shit in practically no time at all.

The first class assignment was essentially “It’s okay to hate people”! There were four or five large easels with poster sized paper on them placed around the perimeter of the conference room. Written at the top of each page were titles like “Black People”, “Homosexuals”, “Unemployed”. We were handed large markers and told to write whatever we thought about each group of people on the easels for twenty minutes. It was fairly anonymous to write with impunity because so many people were wandering about the room scribbling stuff. As the papers began to fill up with written comments some people started snickering. They were reading some of the junk before they had a crack to leave their own musings. When it was all done it was fucking rough, man. On the “Black People” page, it was hell with the lid off. Every kind of racist remark you can think of was up there plain as day. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The “Homosexuals” easel had shit on it like “the reason for AIDS”, “snappy dressers”, and “turd burglars”. The hate went on and on. Under any circumstances here at work none of this would ever come up. Employees aren’t running around the factory telling each other Nigger jokes or treating gays like they are outcasts. If anything people just ignore each other and get on with the job.

When twenty minutes had elapsed, Diane Backwards took each page from the easels and read aloud every racial slur and negative comment written down. I got the feeling she enjoyed the responses a little too much. Some of the folks became uncomfortable and were visibly pissed off as our instructor continued. We don’t have too many employees that are gay, but of the few we’ve got, they began to cry. One of them abruptly got up and ran out of the conference room. I sat and watched all this unfold and I began thinking that if Bill and Dave’s company was doing this to somehow avoid discrimination lawsuits, they just fucked up good. This whole deal seemed like it would blow up in management’s face and backfire severely by giving employees a perfect excuse to sue them.

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~ by factorypeasant on August 17, 2005.

2 Responses to “Diversity Training: Lesson One”

  1. I guess that’s why ol’ Diane is Backwards. Here in the ever-libaral East Bay, I bet if a few hippy companies had diversity training the “Republican”, “Non-Organic” and “Fundamentalist Christian” easels would have some mighty non-PC slurs as well. We’re all bigots in our way. I know I am, but at least I will admit it. Maybe that’s what diversity training is for, just to get us to admit it but not embrace it.

  2. i’m sure you will agree that there is a proper way to teach people to be aware and respectful of others.

    this particular approach was deplorable, it was a shoddy attempt at reverse psychology to place everyone in the other person’s shoes. it openly encouraged harsh discrimination of fellow coworkers. some of our guys treated it as pure comedy at the expense of people they had been working alongside for years.

    for a solid week employees that were gay, black, mexican, anything other than white and straight were totally humiliated in front of everyone they worked with. this was unacceptable for Bill and Dave’s company to condone especially when you consider their legendary acceptance and concern for the well being of their employees.

    make no mistake about the reason why the company forced us into this crap. by the time this took place the company had changed significantly for the worst. it had very little to do with educating us to foster a more PC workplace and had everything to do with protecting the company from frivolous discrimination lawsuits.

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