Kilgore Trout: Diversity-Training Stereotypes — The Cure Is Now Worse than the Disease
On Thursday morning, I found myself staring down the barrel of that familiar corporate ritual: mandatory workplace-diversity-and-inclusion training. Well into my second decade of employment with a large multinational corporation, the prospect of again clicking through the soul-deadening exercises filled me with a sense of almost comical dread. Through a pragmatic lens, I should’ve been happy at the instruction to push aside my real job and spend a few hours collecting a paycheck for doing very little, but instead I procrastinated as long as I could until I finally broke down.
My company chooses to purchase many of its training modules from a third party. This vendor writes the curriculum and populates slides with bland, transferrable diversity-and-inclusion language and concepts, making what I’m sure is its best effort to liven up the sessions with stock photography and real-life examples. The modules are sold to multiple customers, so by nature they can’t be specific to any singular business or company. At face value, it’s a decent business decision and allows the vendor to apply its specialized skillset to producing a multi-language package at a fraction of the cost of creating the material internally. And yet, the resultant mess serves better to create more of the alleged problems than to resolve them. Let’s dive in.