How White People Handled Diversity Training in the Workplace

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How White People Handled Diversity Training in the Workplace

Post by Sonic# » Tue Jul 3, 14:43 2018

Link to Article: https://medium.com/s/story/how-white-pe ... 8408d2519f

Summary: In this article Robin DiAngelo describes how white participants in diversity training often avoid direct discussions of diversity. When the discussion turns to their own behavior, white people may shut down the dialogue directly or turn the dialogue towards their own anxiety at being called out, rather than addressing the initial point of criticism.

I was expecting the article to be about the relative uselessness of diversity training. Certainly the training I've encountered has been far less involved than what DiAngelo conducts: a video with a quiz doesn't do as much as a series of guided discussions or listening sessions.

But what she describes lines up with what I've experienced whenever discussions about race (or gender for that matter) have been attempted, like during TA training or tutor training. People are fine with discussing race relations in the abstract, but very wary when it comes to reflecting on their own behavior. Even pointing out that something could be problematic causes people to reel. Perhaps they think that they are being called "racist," a term so limited in public discourse that it only pertains to people who are intentionally, deliberately bigoted (evil), rather than all the everyday situations where interactions may tend to favor people of one race over another. Perhaps, as the article suggests, white supremacy means that these white people don't see their own privilege without considerable effort. Perhaps, as the article ends on, the inability of many white people to take criticism means that people of color are less willing to give it; such openness to criticism and reflection would be "revolutionary." In any case, such discussions tend to put a greater burden on people of color and discussion leaders to be sensitive to white people's potential reactions (of rejection, anxiety, or distress).

Curious about your thoughts. Just a final one of mine - this article models one reason why I'm skeptical of people who want discussions of gender or race to be friendly to members of a more privileged group. Sure, there may be strategic reasons in political advocacy to ask for things in a certain way, but if that is allowed to carry over to group discussions, listening sessions, or research, focusing too much on a privileged group's anxieties may subordinate or submerge the concerns of other groups, making any inquiry into race studies or gender studies into one implicitly favorable to the powers-that-be.

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Re: How White People Handled Diversity Training in the Workplace

Post by Skeezy » Mon Jul 9, 10:35 2018

Interesting article.

I love when white people attempt to teach other about racism and point hout how difficult it is even coming from another white person. Its one reason I bring up Jane Elliot so much.


It also reminds of telling my co workers about a very black film. I shared a link to the film with many of them. Its called "Hidden Colors." It came out in the early to mid 2000's and focuses on black history. Not the history taught in school but history that was purposely hidden by racist America. After watching it and taking in its historical points I felt very empowered but much more frustrated.

I felt like every American should see this movie especially black men. So I found and shared a link to the movie I also had a dvd copy that I let people borrow. I discussed it with white and black co workers.

A few guys borrowed the dvd but didnt watch it. A few others got the message. When it came to the white people I mostly discussed points of history (they didnt ask for the link so I didnt give it). 2 white guys were open and listened, for that I give them much credit, I dont care if it took or not but just listening without rebutle and participating in the conversation.

When it came to my boss however.. I didnt not share the link with him but a co worker did. I didnt expect him to be open to the movie and I was right. He watched the first 10 minutes, then turned it off. He said it was full of hate.

Hate?.. Really? A movie teaching black people that they've been lied to then delves into history starting from biblical and leads up to america, is hate? I thought roping a man and dragging him with your pickup till he disintegrates was hate, but apparently conflicting educational movies are.


Anyhoo.. The insurmountable climb to show people the many deep layers to racism is very daunting. Even more daunting as society gets soft and everyone else gets offended so easily as black people eat racism and injustice, then get pushed to the backround as Americas attention has A.D.D. these days. Part of this is due to the lack of a leader to guide the course. Thats because current black leaders fear assassination and rightly so. They still call themselves leaders and media follows them.. I call them opportunists and cowards.

I give more respect to white people and people in general who actually confront peoples thinking. Even more respect to those that dare teach white people how untrue what they believe is, and how barbaric and cruel their actual history has been.

Like the article it can be frustrating to challenege peoples mindset. Its even harder to do it as a black man trying to educate white people on racial issues such as why black people are kneeling during the national anthem. Because of the many layers to it, your bound to run into denial at key points.

We've all been racially impressioned and cultured to believe white superiority. Challeneging this and telling white people, hey, I know you think you aren't racist but your still very much so.. Who can blame white people for not wanting to listen. It doesnt benefit them to change their thinking. They still arent going to think any better of black men or women or people of color in general.

Equality in this country is still a dream. One that seems unreachable unless someone pioneers the way and gets the public behind them in a big way to overhaul racist practices still in place. We can try to teach each other but its not going to hit the totality of the country like it should.

I would be elated if my own purpose in life was to give my life for this cause.

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