Diversity Training = Spam

As far as I’m concerned, diversity training is like spam.  Too many people get it and nobody wants it.

I recently read that the U.S. Agriculture Department has hired a consulting firm to advise it on “diversity” matters.  Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack has “taken a number of actions to make his department more sensitive to civil rights issues.”  This comes on the heels of the recent Congressional approval of a $4.6 billion settlement of a discrimination lawsuit filed by black and Native American farmers.  There are more lawsuits pending.

Interesting that over at the DOJ just the opposite seems to be happening.  Two officials, J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates, testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, that the DOJ repeatedly showed “hostility” toward prosecuting cases which involved black defendants.  But I digress.

Let’s get back to diversity training.  Why is it even necessary?  What other country is as diverse as ours?  Didn’t we recently elect the first half-Black/half-White President?  Doesn’t that say anything for this country and its people?

This all reminds me of my own experience when I worked for the County of Los Angeles in the 1990s and required to sit through hours and hours of co-called “diversity training” to make me a better lawyer.

In my opinion, this is more political correctness gone amok.  Smooth talkers could put together some worthless seminar to “teach” people about sensitivities and bias – all at a very substantial price to the corporation or entity which feels compelled to provide this service to its employees.

We were all subjected to diversity training which revolved around Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, Men/Women, and, of course, the LGTB community.  My experience in the courtroom was one that did not see any real bias against homosexuals, but I’ve seen some against the transgender community.  I heard snickering and snide remarks, particularly from homosexuals and a lot of liberals, when that 6-foot tall woman who “doesn’t look quite right” was spotted in court.  It all comes down to hearts and minds – laws and forced training aren’t going to change attitudes.

All this training was to make us more sensitive to the needs of the parents and children in the dependency system.  I heard a lot of argument from attorneys who represented minority children when they were placed in white homes but not once did I hear anything when a white child was placed in a Spanish-speaking home.  Sounds like a double standard to me.

But the most ridiculous diversity training I had to participate in involved the young black community.  I’m sure everyone’s seen some young guy with his pants hanging down around his butt and his underwear showing.  It’s got to be the most stupid look I’ve ever seen and I’d like to see one of these fools try and run in those pants.  Well, according to our “diversity instructor,” this so-called “style” originated at Riker’s Island in New York, where prisoners aren’t permitted to have belts.  (Since then, I’ve also read that this style signifies sexual orientation or, at least, sexual willingness, in prisons.)

According to the instructor, black youth adopted this “look” because it’s part of their “heritage” even though it reflected a negative segment of the population, namely, prisoners.

Well, I’d never heard of anything so stupid.  So, in my inimitable fashion, I raised my hand during the seminar and asked the following:  “My father came to the United States in 1924 from Germany.  Based on your analysis, would it be okay for me to don a swastika because, even though it reflects a negative segment of the German population, it is part of my heritage?”

After stunned silence from fellow attorneys, the instructor attempted to explain away why my example was not analogous to the droopy pants look even though I knew I was spot on.  Afterwards, several of my co-workers absolutely agreed with my analogy.

Needless to say, I thought the whole diversity training was a big waste of time although it did count towards my continuing education required by the State Bar of California.  Up until I read the article about the Agriculture Department, I hadn’t a clue that diversity training was still being touted in this country.  I thought we’d moved way past this.

Apparently, we haven’t.  There are still “workforce diversity specialists” who go around the corporate world teaching people how to relate to one another.  For example, one website I came across lists the politically correct terms now acceptable in the corporate world.  For example, you shouldn’t say “guys” when speaking to a mixed group of people.  You should say, “friends,” “folks,” or “group.”  You’re not supposed to say “no culture,” when referring to parts of the U.S. where the opera and the theater are scarce or nonexistent but rather “lacking European culture.”  My favorite is that I’m no longer an “old person” but rather “chronologically advantaged.”  Does this mean that young people are “chronologically disadvantaged?”  Sounds politically incorrect to me.

Bottom line:  these are money-making industries by people who’ve convinced corporations that it’s necessary, especially if they’re after government contracts.  And the corporation, afraid of looking insensitive or something even worse, kowtows to this type of political correctness.  I see no difference between this type of training and the shakedown of corporation, like NASCAR, by the Rev. Jesse Jackson in years past.  Remember when NASCAR gave $250,000 to Jackson’s Rainbow/Push Coalition to develop programs to try and correct perceived racism and animosity towards blacks.

For how many years, the private sector has been bullied into diversity training.  Now we the taxpayers are spending, God only knows, how much to “train” the employees over at the Agriculture Department.  Whatever it is, it’s a waste of our money.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Simone

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  • http://www.buydress.ca Julianne Fickert

    Lol,I adore Michael Jackson! He was the best to ever do it! We will never have someone like him! Rest in Peace to the GREATEST!

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  • Roger Ward

    Diversity training (and Political Correctness, its driving force) are a waste of time and money. People are what they are and think what they think …. and no leftist propaganda will change that. Those who want to do and believe the right thing will do so …. and those who don’t, won’t. The cost of creating and implementing such programs is unbelievable, certainly running into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and probably running into the tens of billions. If we had the money that has been wasted on these left-driven, foolishly idealistic programs, how much better would be the plight of the American taxpayer? Those are real dollars that are being wasted …. real dollars that would make a difference if used properly.

    • Jesus

      #1 Kenny Chesney fan on October 25, 2011 I don’t know about Seventeen but GirlsLife is real bsacuee i won from their. Twice. I’m not sure though. I would think they are real bsacuee if someone actually did win they still would have to spend money no matter what

  • http://www.diverseattorney.org Ron Jordan

    Ms.Salazar, you are entitled to your opinion, but it is not one that is based on reality, that is in the “real world.” Many of the posters here have written about our country being one of the most diverse in the world and that one can not be “taught’ to have a different opinion on diversity and inclusion and that may be true. Alas, as we are a very diverse country, in looking at gender, sexual orientation and race issues, diversity training and sensitivity are issues that can be taught to those that don’t know and sometimes don’t want to know about other folks in the US. President Obama, who you tagged as our nation’s first Black/White President, is “Black” by his own accounts and to a greater extent is neither by most people’s accounts, he is a American. He is a product of this country, his home birth country and his State, Hawaii. Your article is just a distraction and plays into those whose lives are drastically changing because of the new demographics and I would hope that those that think that diversity and inclusion is not a necessary componet of our changing world, to wake up.! For the last 45 years, I have been assualted and insulted with the history of the US in relation to the marginalization of people of color and in that time, I learned that despite the history of the US in relation to the dispicable history of ” Americans, that I am glad I know how we treat those who have a stakehold in this nation. So, as we move forward as a nation, those of you that say you are a “American” should remember that those who dispise and hate your fellow citizens will find the shoe on the other foot some day soon, then what excuse will you put to me as to understanding the diversity and inclusion for you as this tide is surely changing.

    ,

  • chief

    I was co-chair of a state bar committee on diversity and as mentioned by one post, it did include other folks like gays, TG, disabled, etc, so I spent a great deal of time on the subject. I am fortunate to be color blind in more ways than one. My observation in regards to diversity training is this: you cannot change a person’s heart or mind in an all-day training session and not even in a year-long committee.
    I have, over the years, on occasion, seen good people under extreme stress utter things that would be considered racist or demeaning to “special groups.” That doesn’t make them “bad” people, just human. There are groups who proclaim loudly that being “gay” is a sin! Minorities are inferior. No doubt, diversity training will not help them – maybe some psychotropic meds might.
    I recall in the 70′s, the establishment of diversity was a factor in awarding federal government contracts as a means to help establish more minority businesses. Since then, things have definitely become more complicated both because of government requirements, media bombardment, illegal aliens, and an economy in decline. Diversity training is just one of the things here to stay. Will it change a person’s heart? Your guess is as good as mine.

  • http://www.polishforforeigners.pl Ewa Maslowska

    It is a very important discussion. I am afraid that ‘diversity’ is over used as well as all what is considered to be ‘politicly correct’. In effect all what was social norm, what was our cultural heritage is questioned and even forbidden. The basic words-values like: mother, father, family, parents became politicly incorrect. It is crazy and has nothing to do with inclusion, respect to the human being, it has nothing to do with diversity. It is just against basic human rights. We can’t be all the same. We have right to be different, have families or live alone, have parents to whom we address mother and father, even if there are orphans between us. it is life and we have to respect it rules. One day we became orphans, when our parents die.

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  • http://www.trainingdiversity.com Training Diversity

    “Let’s get back to diversity training. Why is it even necessary? What other country is as diverse as ours? Didn’t we recently elect the first half-Black/half-White President? Doesn’t that say anything for this country and its people?”

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment on the manner. I think more companies need to embrace diversity training in the workplace because even though we’ve come a long way, we’re still not quite there yet. Racial tensions are still very strong in not just this country, but around the world. However, I do agree that the U.S. has come a long way and I understand your viewpoints.

    Now, I will admit: I could be biased because I work within this industry and yes, there are a lot of companies out there that send the wrong message. But as a diversity training provider myself, we have had outstanding results with our customers. It’s more about inclusion than anything else and how to develop your staff into an ideal group.

    Additionally, I have issue with the “definition.” I think the problem is that “diversity” is often thought of as just a racial or cultural thing. Diversity also includes people with disabilities and disorders. It is also about gender equality and even religion… Wouldn’t you agree that religion is as tense than ever right now? Islam, Judaism, and Catholicism are all under attack right now.

    I could go on, but that’s just my 2 cents for what it’s worth…

    • http://www.idontgetit.us Leona Salazar

      Thanks for your comments. Diversity training isn’t going to change hearts and minds. Sometimes it takes a generation or two. Do you honestly believe that people like Islamic jihadists, members of the Westboro Baptist Church, or the Klan will change their minds because of diversity training? I don’t. Most people are good and know how to behave. Those that don’t, won’t learn how to in a classroom they’re forced to attend.

  • Gamer

    We will not be silenced!

  • Gamer

    Cultural conservatives who B I T C H about violent video games are CRAP!

  • Gamer

    F U C K JACK THOMPSON AND BERNARD GOLDS H I T!

  • Gamer
  • Pingback: Diversity Training = Spam | BernardGoldberg.com | Training

  • Bruce A.

    As a former federal civil servant I was forced to undergo diversity/sensivity training along with the rest of my group Talk about a waste of time and energy, especially since everyone always got along & there were never any problems. We just respected each other.

  • Kane Weinberg

    Leona, The dropped pants look of some black teenagers has nothing to do with any heritage. The instructor that said that must be ignorant.It is nothing more than a passing teenage fashion statement of today’s generation. Every generation of teenagers have had their own fashion statements. Some used to wear ripped jeans, others used to wear their hair very long (men that is), some used to wear the tight jeans as seen in the movie “Greece”. At the end of the day teenagers will do what teenagers do. If the low wearing jeans was such a heritage, may be you may want to point to times in the past wear black americans used to wear their trousers so low?? I am sure, your generation had its own distinct fashion statement when you were young. I am also sure that your parent’s generation also frowned on those fashion statements at the time.

    There are a lot of diverse groups in America and these groups all have sensitivities (just as we jews do). It is ensuring that we do not unwittingly step on the sensibilities of others.

    • http://www.idontgetit.us Leona Salazar

      Thanks, Kane. The diversity expert was speaking directly about black youth. Sagging then became popular among other groups including white teenagers. Before writing this piece, I did some research and found support for the instructor’s notion that “sagging” did originate in prison. (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/sagging-pants-history.html)
      (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagging_(fashion)) (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sagging) If you are correct, and “sagging” did not originate in prisons, then the diversity training I was subjected to was even a greater waste of time because the instructor didn’t know what he was talking about.

      • Kane Weinberg

        I don’t know whether sagging originated in prison or from hip hop video’s. What I do know is that sagging has nothing to do with “black heritage”. Prison cannot be said to be a part of black heritage nor is financial crime a part of jewish heritage.

        • begbie

          Well, I know that there are a lot of rap videos glorifying the prison gangsta lifestyle. In fact, there are a lot of “cultural influences” that come from criminal lifestyles that seem unique to the black and latino community. But a black conservative politician isn’t black enough or called an uncle tom. Maybe Michael Steele would have been more successful with the baggy pants and a doo-rag?

  • JDO

    You know what I never get, and no one can give me a good answer to? If we’re all supposed to treat each other equally (which I believe, agree with and teach to my children), why is it the Left continually stresses that we emphasize our cultural differences so much? There is certainly nothing wrong with being proud of our cultural background (at least the positives from it), but it seems to me that the first step towards being “equal” is to stop pointing out every single difference amongst ourselves. Call me crazy.

    • Daryl

      JDO you posed a sincere question and I have a response. You stated, “If we’re all supposed to treat each other equally (which I believe, agree with and teach to my children), why is it the Left continually stresses that we emphasize our cultural differences so much?”
      I think the problem lies in the notion that we are supposed to treat each other “equally”. I think it’s better to treat each other “equitablly”. As a father of five, I do not treat my children equally. They have different needs, desires, abilities, and disabilities. Treating them equally would be a disservice to my children. Therefore, in order to be effective as a parent,co-worker, manager, supervisor, etc. it would behoove me to have some understanding about the differences in the people I encounter so I might serve them better.

      • Daryl

        Correction to my spelling: Equitably

      • Mike

        Excellent point Daryl. As a father and a corporate manager, I couldn’t agree more!

    • Fabio

      hhahaa! had fun reading here as usual i know some stereotypes towards us but that one was waaaaaaaaayyyyyy over the line how our country be africa? wala na nga tayong halos wildlife hehehe!

  • Shirl

    Just more politically correct (elites trying to teach the un-eilites) how to act. I had my dose of diversity training back in the 80′s while working for the railroad in north florida. I was already working with blacks (they wanted to be called black because black was beautiful) which was ok to me and also with asians; all of which I got along with beautifully. Our diversity training was for the expected migration from the south of florida in the coming years. I thought they meant birds; but realised they meant hispanics-cubans. As far as I’m concerned; the PC crowd are a bunch of dodo birds.

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    • Eugenio

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  • Teddi

    First of all, I love the story about you speaking up in class about your German background and the swastika. I could hear the silence in the room. Moving on, I feel the excessive emphasis on cultural diversity has been counterproductive for me. I went to graduate school in social work back in the early 80s. Back then, this topic was very limited in its discussion and was presented in a helpful context. After 30 years of it becoming so dominant in our society, I have a very hard time not seeing race (or whatever the emphasis is) right away when I meet someone. Thirty years ago, I considered the person’s cultural background as a factor when it mattered for clinical work, but now I can’t help but have it stand out right away. I have to make an effort to not to let the cultural focus dominate my initial thoughts. This seems to be counterproductive when the goal of any therapeutic relationship is to build a relationship with the person, not have culture be the focal point. I felt I was more “culturally sensitive” 30 years ago when I considered the whole person and did not spend extra time focusing on “cultural issues” that were not being brought up by the client. I think you have to be mindful of culture, but it needs to be addressed when it is relevant, not just because all these trainers say you have to focus on it. Can we just be real with people, and get rid of all the political correctness?

    • Daryl

      Teddi,
      Your comments confused me a bit. Can you give some examples of “cultural issues”?
      Thanks