Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, November 21, 2019

NY Times: The Big Business Of Unconscious Bias

New York Times, The Big Business of Unconscious Bias:

Companies want to avoid racism, sexism and misgendering. Consultants are standing by.

Recently, a story circulated within the diversity, equity and inclusion industry (D.E.I.), one that somehow didn’t go viral on social media: At an unnamed company, co-workers were taking their seats before a sensitivity training workshop began, when some white male employees entered as a group with targets pinned to their shirts — a sartorial statement about their anticipated persecution.

Apocryphal or not, “the story is powerful for two reasons,” said Laura Bowser, the board chair and former C.E.O. of TMI Consulting Inc., a D.E.I. strategy company in Richmond, Va., named for its two founders, but also the abbreviation meaning “too much information.” “One, it shows that there is still an utter lack of empathy and understanding about privilege and power dynamics. Second, it demonstrates how many diversity and inclusion trainings in the past have failed.”

Of late, the D.E.I. (also known as D & I) industry is booming, creating new career paths and roles. Institutions and businesses are trying to correct power imbalances, which means a growing need for experts who can help address and define issues like unconscious bias. ...

The old way of approaching these issues with perfunctory, so-called sensitivity training is no longer acceptable. Today, no one is going to “hug it out” after a single lecture about embracing difference. ...

Millennials’ expectation of inclusion is part of what is driving C.E.O.s and directors to bring in D.E.I. consultants. That generation will make up 75 percent of the work force by 2025, according to Brookings, the nonprofit public policy organization.

“The younger generation expects the company to be walking the walk to retain and attract the best talent,” Ms. Brown said. “If they can’t see diversity in leadership, they’re likely to struggle to envision their own trajectory and, eventually, leave.” ...

According to McKinsey & Company, the consultancy, businesses in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to be more successful financially; executive teams with gender diversity are 21 percent more likely to outperform their peers.

But it’s also important for public relations and brand identity. “D & I has transformed from a compliance function to a cultural transformation accelerator for companies who want to establish themselves as relevant,” said Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, the chief diversity officer at Microsoft. ...

How does one break into the D.E.I. field? Some universities, including Cornell, Georgetown and Yale, are beginning to offer certificate programs and online courses on the subject.

For now, industry leaders have a range of backgrounds: social justice, sales, marketing, political activism, minority studies, writing and more. ...

[D]iversity support can cost $25,000 to $450,000 a year, depending on the client’s needs. Businesses also have to factor in the time employees spend away from their desks during training.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2019/11/ny-times-the-big-business-of-unconscious-bias.html

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Comments

"[I]t shows that there is still an utter lack of empathy and understanding about privilege and power dynamics."

Perhaps, but maybe not in the way you're thinking. Perhaps it's a lack of empathy for the targeted and lack of understanding of the power dynamics of wielding a DEI cudgel of "diversity" against at will employees of a certain race or gender.

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Nov 22, 2019 3:35:20 AM

But discrimination against white males is fine

Posted by: Mike Livingston | Nov 22, 2019 4:12:09 AM

"According to McKinsey & Company, the consultancy, businesses in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to be more successful financially; executive teams with gender diversity are 21 percent more likely to outperform their peers."

However do those foreign multinationals maintain success when they have little to no diversity, I wonder? Japan, Germany, etc.

Posted by: MM | Nov 22, 2019 1:54:57 PM

Ruralcounsel is quite insightful. As an outside advisor, I any number of employees have felt safe venting to me about the various “Diversity” practices at their companies. They know that they cannot question anything the Diversity trainers “teach” without risking their careers. Talk about a bonding experience.
As real instances of racism have declined, diversity training as increased – riddle me that, Batman. Could it be that the “C” level people are paying a modern day form of Danegeld.


Posted by: aircav65 | Nov 24, 2019 10:27:11 AM

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