NOTE: Links to several of my previous blogs on the subject of race and racism are at the bottom of this short blog.
As a diversity and inclusion consultant, I was in for a Labor Day weekend shock when my colleague Cecilia Orellana-Rojas, the National Diversity Council’s Senior VP of Strategy and Research, texted me a Forbes article that President Trump has now ordered a ceasing of all federal government employee trainings on racial sensitivity. Link to the Forbes article.
In his pronouncement, Trump is calling diversity training divisive and anti-American, particularly referring to efforts to that promote racial understanding in our nation.
Here are my five reasons why this is so horribly wrong.
1) Diversity training is about building unity, not divisiveness. The purpose of diversity training done right is bring diverse people together to understand the value and strengths each unique person brings to an organization. Diversity training promotes understanding people different from you and treating them with respect.
2) Diversity training is ultimately and totally American, not anti-American. The United States has been built upon diverse people coming from all areas of the world and contributing their gifts and talents to building this “great experiment” (as called by several our country’s founders.) The US’s strength comes from being perhaps the most diverse nation on earth.
3) There are past historical wrongs that do need to be addressed. Yes, even as people came from all over the globe to build a new fantastic nation, there are dark stains on our history that need to be recognized. These include the genocide of the Native Americans that were here before the European settlers, the dehumanizing institution of slavery, and the pushing out of, and the stealing of land from, the first Hispanic settlers in the American southwest.
4) The current wrongs and issues in our country need to be addressed, not ignored. Sure, slavery was abolished over 150 years ago, but systemic racism and unfair treatment of our Black population is pervasive and documented. To grow as a country, we must come to face to the realities of systemic racism and start to seriously address it.
5) Relevant diversity strategy and training breeds success. This has been proven in the business world; companies and organizations that “get diversity” outperform their non-diverse peers and are more profitable. See leading consulting group McKinsey’s report “Diversity Wins and How Inclusion Matters.”
Let us all unite to build a better more inclusive diverse nation and world where together we grow stronger and better.
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Links to several of my past related blogs on this topic
In “Facing the Truth – Racism Still Persists in the USA,” I discuss both personal and institutional racism.
This blog summarizes an excellent book providing an excellent long-term historic view of racism in the US: Divided We Stand – Racism in America from Jamestown to Trump – a Book Review.
And a recent blog about how Trump reversed the plans to place Harriett Tubman on our $20 bill.
A guest blog by my cousin Brandon who works as a priason social worker; Five Steps to Reduce the Mass Incarceration of African Americans.
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Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBTQ+ diversity strategy and training, Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups. Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me to discuss diversity training for your organization, or pass my name onto your HR department. [email protected]