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]

Five Intersections – LGBTQ Pride Month and Black Lives Matter

Every year since the Stonewall Rebellion in Greenwich Village, New York City in late June, 1969, June has been traditionally observed initially as Gay Pride Month, and now LGBTQ Pride Month. But this year, all in person June celebrations and parades have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now everything has been overshadowed (and rightfully so) by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. His murder combined with the additional recent unaddressed murders of Breonna Taylor (Louisville, Kentucky) and Ahmaud Arbery (South Georgia) has now led to ongoing mass demonstrations around the world against racism and police brutality.

So I do feel it is important for the LGBTQ+ communities to pause and recognize the intersections between racism and “The Black Lives” matter movement with LGBTQ Pride and ongoing battle for LGBTQ equality. Here are 5 intersections:

1) Built upon the base. Though June is LGBTQ Pride Month, we all must place the highest priority on the most recent events around the murder of George Floyd, and the need for community and national engagement with the never-ending work that must continue around addressing systemic racism (see my earlier blog on personal and systemic racism). LGBTQ+ people and allies must be involved and take action around racism, recognizing that much of LGBTQ+ equity progress has been built upon the foundations of racial equity work. Let us never forget and be always grateful of the path Black Americans and racial justice activists paved for LGBTQ+ equity.

Bayard Rustin was the main organizer of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington on leading gay rights advocate in the 1970s and 1980s.

2) Intersectionality. Everyone is comprised of a complex mix of their own unique diversity attributes, and we really cannot simply separate one attribute of our diversity and consider it in isolation of our full selves. We have to consider our own race, gender, abilities, etc. as we consider our queer identities.

3) Oppression and issues. Many of the same issues impacting communities of color also impact LGBTQ communities. These include issues of healthcare discrepancies, issues around education, economic development and employment, etc.

4) The importance of allies. Racism is an issue that the white majority must own and take strong action to fix. The issues around racism cannot be laid at the feet of black people to fix; it is the white majority in power that built and controls the mechanisms that perpetrate systemic racism. In the same way, the LGBTQ community must rely and value the work of our straight and cisgender allies who advocate for our equality. Furthermore, many Black organizations, like the NAACP, have been strong allies to the LGBTQ community and include our issues prominently in their work. Link to archive of the NAACP’s LGBTQ equality work.

5) Commons foes. Communities of color and LGBTQ communities must realize that we do face commons foes; whether it be well-intentioned people who may not know how to engage us in the best way, or mean-spirited bigots who want to hold on to their power and oppress others. Marginalized communities must unite to engage and build allies while building larger coalitions to fight discrimination and oppression.

May we all work together to build a stronger nation and stronger world where we all leverage our diversity for the common good of all.

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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 LGBT diversity strategy and training,  Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me for your diversity speaking or training needs, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]