2020 turned into a momentous year for diversity training. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many diversity trainers, myself included, to re-invent themselves by adapting their workshops into an online format. The Memorial Day killing of George Floyd thrust anti-racism into the center of diversity training, challenging those presenters who had generally soft-pedaled the issue. President Donald Trump’s September 22 executive order, “Race and Sex Stereotyping,” caused government agencies and contractors, including some higher education institutions, to suspend or mute their diversity training.
Unconscious bias training is an admirable project but may often be ineffective. The fuzzy, vague term of unconscious bias is often applied indiscriminately, but unconscious bias isn’t a one-size-fits-all term amenable to a one afternoon of training. Yes, it can refer to the incident where the police were called to arrest two African-Americans waiting for a meeting at Starbucks. But it can also mean only smiling at customers that look like you, rejecting resumes from diverse applicants, and promoting the employees who resemble the current leadership team. If we want to address unconscious bias effectively, we need to first be aware of how the senses, emotions, and brain interact to create unconscious bias. Second, we must go beyond awareness of our biases to sensitivity to their impact. Lastly, we need to develop a system that internalizes wise decision making with ongoing reinforcement of that competence.
“Reach out and touch someone and make this a better world if you can.” ~ Diana Ross
Wow, before the ink was dry on my, “Hug me not Joe Biden,” fundamentally a “don’t touch” (or touch selectively) advisory, in the American Diversity Report, along comes Tiffany Field who has spent decades trying to get people to do just the opposite…. touch one another more.
Okay, I say don’t touch, she says do touch!
So what gives?
Mauricio Velasquez speaks on Diversity Trends in Today’s Workplace. He is the President & Founder of Diversity Training Group (DTG). In this follow-up interview (CLICK to see Part 1), he provides an update on the current and emerging diversity issues in the 2017 workplace and an analysis of their increasing intensity.
With more than 25 years experience in diversity field, Mauricio is a mover & shaker in the business, government, and education sectors. He is an Advisor and regular contributor of articles to the American Diversity Report.
I have been in the diversity-training field for nearly 20 years and everybody talks about “Diversity Best Practices” today. Well, I think it is time, overdue really, for more conversation and deliberation about Diversity Worst Practices. I suggested this at a recent ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) Diversity Conference and it was very well received and they encouraged me so here goes. I am surprised to find very little in print about this so I am just going to “add to the conversation.” At DTG we tend to be contrarian; we tend to look at issues from many different and often “nontraditional” angles and perspectives. That is really what the diversity field is all about –right? What value do our differences add or bring to the organization.
Editor’s Note: Click for Mauricio’s podcast
I have been in the diversity training field for nearly 20 years and everybody talks about best practices but I feel too many of my colleagues really make it more complicated than it really needs to be and here at DTG we have always tried to make diversity issues and the related training more easy to comprehend and embrace. The prerequisite reading for this article is an article I recently wrote entitled – “Diversity Worst Practices.” Another article that would be helpful to read is our article on our website diversitydtg.com about ineffective or bad diversity training – what I like to call “Blame and Shame” diversity training and please find the related article on what exactly is the definition of a diversity issue. Continue reading Diversity Best Practices – By Mauricio Velásquez