I was recently very pleased to come across a great article by Peter Bregman (https://hbr.org/2012/03/diversity-training-doesnt-work).
In it, Mr. Bregman notes that, “Diversity training doesn’t extinguish prejudice. It promotes it,” adding, “At first glance, the first training — the one that outlined what people could and couldn’t say — didn’t seem to hurt. But on further inspection, it turns out it did.”
Bregman acknowledges that, “People aren’t prejudiced against real people; they’re prejudiced against categories. “Sure, John is gay,” they’ll say, “but he’s not like other gays.” Their problem isn’t with John, but with gay people in general, and adds that it’s categories themselves that are dehumanizing.”
Perhaps Mr. Bregman’s deepest insight is that, “When people divide into categories to illustrate the idea of diversity, it reinforces the idea of the categories.”
I largely agree with this article. Most petty bigotries are rooted in a nebulous "other," by the viewer and do not hold up when they meet actual individuals. Whereas “groups” and “movements” can seem threatening and contentious, most individuals are not.
The problem with diversity training is that it all too often unwittingly, or not, promotes a pernicious ideological and ethnic bigotry of its own. To be effective in truly promoting “inclusion” and “tolerance” it MUST BE non-judgmental in its approach to ALL ideologies, regardless of how un-inclusive some of those ideologies might be.
IF the idea is to get people to learn to "live together" (inclusion), that can't be done by demonizing SOME, as that approach itself is rooted in exclusion.
For instance, one of the problems with "race-based" diversity training is that it STILL insists on using racial constructs to oppose racism. IF racism and bigotry are wrong (and they ARE), then so is ALL "race consciousness," ALL "counting by race" & ALL race-based "remedies." Ending "racism" as we've come to know it, requires the end of the very concept of race and replacing it with a much more neutral concept of "ethnicity." This is why a Pro-Black Agenda IS every bit as "racist" & WRONG as a Pro-White one & why sanctioned "Black Groups," or "Women's Groups" are every bit as pernicious as are exclusively "White and male GROUPS."
Ending “racism” requires more than what Chief Justice Roberts said, “STOP counting by race,” but for us to STOP looking at race as the all-defining construct that it is not.
IF the problem is exclusivity (and it IS), then the antidote is NOT continuing to utilize exclusivity.