Trump cancels federal racial sensitivity training – Five reasons why this is so wrong

Diverse teams outperform those that are not.

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.

Movement Like “Black Lives Matter” are working to address systemic racism.


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

Diversity and Inclusion- Does It Divide Us or Unify Us?

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.

Trump cancelled approved plans to place African-American woman Harriett Tubman on our $20 bill

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.

Two cool books on race relations from a University of Chicago Graduate.

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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]

Diversity and Inclusion – does it divide us or unify us?

As a diversity and career development consultant since forming my business in 2010 after retiring from IBM, I have been publishing 2-4 blogs each month, many of them about a wide range of diversity topics.
• I have discussed that racism still does indeed exist in “Facing the Truth – Racism Stills Persists in the USA.”
• I offered some hard-hitting solutions to addressing gender discrimination and sexual harassment in “Five Provocative Recommendations to Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.”
• I had assistance from members of diverse communities to assist with blogs addressing negative stereotypes of Muslims and Hispanics in our country. The blog Five Common Misconceptions of Muslims in the USA introduces the Muslim topic and has links to additional blogs. And then also look up Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People.
• The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Community continues to be misunderstood and maligned by a huge number of Americans, including legislators, and I have written extensively on this topic.

And there are many other areas of diversity that grab our attention: Veterans, People with Disabilities, Diversity of Thought, and even straight white men are part of our diversity mix that adds valuable perspectives and variety.

But what concerns me are the negative comments and misunderstandings about diversity and inclusion. Last week, I wrote “Economic Diversity and a Sad Tale of Misused Privilege,” addressing the recent scandal that hit the news about affluent Americans using wealth to cheat and bribe their children’s admissions into top colleges they may not qualify for. I normally promote each blog on my business Facebook page, and invariably, several people will post negative reactions, often decrying diversity.

This blog was no exception. One reader wrote, “We need to dump all this “diversity” horse crap, it’s not working and only creates more strife. Focus on unity instead, what do we have in common? You should also quit whining about “privilege”. Life is what it is, and crying because someone else has it easier won’t change a damn thing. Do what you can with what you’ve got and you will be much more content with your life.”

At least he did not call me names, bully me and use four or five expletives like many people do. But I felt compelled to reply.

Appreciating each person’s diversity shouldn’t divide us … it unifies us and makes us stronger!

Like many, he misunderstands the value and intent of diversity and inclusion. Focusing on diversity is not meant to divide us, but instead to raise the awareness that every single person is unique and different, and brings value to our society. Embracing differing views, ways of thinking, creativity and talents will build a stronger, richer entity; whether it be our country, community, or business. Learning to understand the challenges various people face and assisting everyone in overcoming these challenges will make everyone stronger. I shared with this reader one of IBM’s diversity taglines, “None of us is as a strong as all of us.”

I do hope that everyone can stop, take a breath, and open their hearts and minds to understanding that appreciating and leveraging the diversity of each person will enhance our lives as individuals, as communities, as nations, and indeed as all humanity. The diversity and inclusion discussion is not a “we vs. them” but an “all of us together” discussion.

Peace, Shalom, Namaste!