Thursday, September 08, 2022

Diversity Thursday

Why do I do this to myself and you almost every Thursday for the better part of two decades?

Well, mostly because I was grounded since a small child that you have to judge people by the content of their character; that everyone - regardless of who they are, what they look like, or what they do for a living - is worthy of respect as an individual.

When that is not happening, speak up.

Silence is approval.

What today's diversity industry is all about runs completely contrary to what I believe. So, I speak up. 

With each year more are seeing that it is being used as a socio-political weapon against people, intentionally dividing groups in to sectarian parties defined by characteristics they can do nothing about - and then pitting them against each other. 

If that isn't evil enough, there are the non-zero percentage of people involved in this industry who are not well meaning but wrong, or even just in it for a paycheck - but are there for the power and ability to punish people who are not like them. You could not ask for a more toxic and cancerous environment in organizations that require unity of effort, cohesion, and trust. You know, the very foundation of effective military organizations.

If you filter out the rent-seekers, those driven by bile and hate, or those who simply enjoy power, you are left with the well-meaning-but-wrong, the true believers, and the useful idiots. Even with them, are you really gaining anything worthwhile by this Ottomanesque web of sectarian based rewards and punishments; incentives and disincentives? 

Especially in the zero-sum game of employment and promotion - what kind of juice are you getting from that squeeze? 

From The Economist;

Diversity and anti-harassment training is a booming industry. International company surveys suggest the number of people hired for jobs with

“diversity” or “inclusion” in the title has more than quadrupled since 2010.

Attempts to reduce discrimination and harassment in the workplace are laudable, and make good business sense. But only if they work.

Unfortunately, the consensus now emerging among academics is that many antidiscrimination policies have no effect. What is worse, they often back!re. Some among them suspect the reason many interventions nevertheless remain popular is a hidden motive: that they are used not to reduce discrimination, but to shield against litigation.

.... On average, 20 years after these interventions were introduced, the group that benefited most were white men.


Statistically speaking, the effects of all but one were nil.

This is not a new understanding. Harvard Business Review from six years ago;

It shouldn’t be surprising that most diversity programs aren’t increasing diversity. Despite a few new bells and whistles, courtesy of big data, companies are basically doubling down on the same approaches they’ve used since the 1960s—which often make things worse, not better. Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions. Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out. As social scientists have found, people often rebel against rules to assert their autonomy. Try to coerce me to do X, Y, or Z, and I’ll do the opposite just to prove that I’m my own person.


In analyzing three decades’ worth of data from more than 800 U.S. firms and interviewing hundreds of line managers and executives at length, we’ve seen that companies get better results when they ease up on the control tactics. Another reason is that about three-quarters of firms with training still follow the dated advice of the late diversity guru R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr. “If diversity management is strategic to the organization,” he used to say, diversity training must be mandatory, and management has to make it clear that “if you can’t deal with that, then we have to ask you to leave.” But five years after instituting required training for managers, companies saw no improvement in the proportion of white women, black men, and Hispanics in management, and the share of black women actually decreased by 9%, on average, while the ranks of Asian-American men and women shrank by 4% to 5%. Trainers tell us that people often respond to compulsory courses with anger and resistance—and many participants actually report more animosity toward other groups afterward.

Never forget how many millions of dollars the military is spending for consultants and full time positions whose whole job is to do exactly the wrong thing as mentioned  above. Of course, regular readers of DivThu know that the diversity industry sees that as a feature, not a bug. No problem that brings a paycheck can be solved - only perpetuated, or better yet, made worse.

Throwing good money after bad is not new for the US military - but with the CNO as a Kendi fanboi and the CJCS spending his quality time in the head pondering "white rage" - who is going to stop this cult's progress?

Three years later, HBR addressed the topic again - but this time they seemed to miss the story.

We found very little evidence that diversity training affected the behavior of men or white employees overall—the two groups who typically hold the most power in organizations and are often the primary targets of these interventions.

Our data contained two interesting surprises, however. The first was that the single largest behavioral effect generated by the training was on the behavior of women in the company’s U.S. offices.

Three weeks after the training was complete, we asked the organization to email employees about a new initiative. The email asked employees to nominate up to five coworkers they would like to meet for a casual coffee chat to help create a more inclusive culture. Our goal was to measure whether employees would be more willing to provide informal mentorship to women and people of color after undergoing the diversity training.

Have they even sat through these programs?

Who is always "the bad person" in the room here? 

Trust me on this, few people open their minds when they are told that off the bat they are a problem. They are the bad guys. They need to be decreased.

I'm not sure how they expect anything different.

Maybe they do get it.

The absence of any observable change in the behavior of male or white employees overall suggests that we need to stop treating diversity training as a silver bullet. Instead, we recommend investing in a multipronged diversity and inclusion program that encourages underrepresented talent to join, stay, succeed, and lead within your organization. This includes a broad range of approaches, from targeting training to different audiences, to re-engineering hiring practices, to normalizing flex time, to using technology and behavioral science to reduce bias in performance evaluations.

Shall I say the quiet part out loud?


In 2022 you can find individual bigots and they can be dealt with in detail - but besides diversity programs, there are no official discrimination programs in this country based on race, creed, color, national origin, etc. What few remain as if it is always 1972, I believe the courts will soon take care of.

We will never have every segment of society perfectly reflect the makeup of our nation. That is simply impossible. What you can do is look at underperforming areas of our society that help create discrepancies between groups. Some things governments and companies can impact - but especially organizations such as the military whose intake is society's outflow - there needs to be a mature understanding that you can't move with you cannot touch. 

Not only do certain sub-cultures in our gloriously polyglot republic have different priorities and tendencies, as a nation we have failed at some basic governmental functions.

What determines an opportunity for success at age 18? If you are looking for objective criteria, first is education. Next is crime history, then drug use. While all three usually are in synch, only the first is inside the lifelines of the government (mostly, family support is a significant portion of that). Crime record and drug use? That is a tougher nut. All have significantly different trends when broken out by groups of significance.

Instead of paying millions of dollars to otherwise unemployable merchants of division, what if governments and corporations invested in increasing qualified pools of people along various sub-groups in our society? Start first in the education area, then work on supporting those who are raising the next generation - mothers and families.

The family and the neighborhood are really the only effective tools here. You can only help indirectly with the tools a government can bring to bear.

Strengthen those for areas of our society most in need, and everyone benefits - including, yes, your sectarian metrics.

Do not address them, and the problem will never leave.

Maybe for some that is the point ... or they know how hard that will be, decades to see the result with no credit to them, and will take the easier paycheck instead while allowing other people to bear the burden.

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