World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Diversity training

Article Id: WHEBN0000374004
Reproduction Date:

Title: Diversity training  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Jane Elliott, Neurodiversity, Heterosexism, Bias against left-handed people, Biphobia
Collection: Discrimination, Education, Political Correctness, Politics and Race, Sociological Terminology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Diversity training

Diversity training is a course of instruction aimed at increasing the participants' cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills in order to benefit an organization by protecting against civil rights violations, by increasing the inclusion of different identity groups, and by promoting better teamwork. [1]


  • Controversial issues 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Controversial issues

Diversity training has been a controversial issue, raising questions about moral considerations and counter-productivity.

Observers characterize diversity training in very different ways. Its proponents consider it morally right, because it respects diversity, recognizing the value and contributions of every human being. They also view it as economically sound, because it enables organizations to draw on multiplicities of talents and strengths.[2]

According to Hans Bader, its opponents consider it an oppressive, ideology reeducation tactic that actually reduces the ability of organizations to attain their goals. It has been suggested that diversity training reinforces differences between individuals instead of fostering their commonalities, thus helping to further racialize the workplace, creating situations where people "tiptoe" around issues such as how to relate to people of different cultures as opposed to people learning to communicate with and truly understand each other.[3] It may also, according to law professor Gail Heriot, amount to a "rather blatant form of racial and sexual harassment".[4]

These opinions have been confirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which, in Fitzgerald v. Mountain States Tel & Tel. Co. (1995), noted that "diversity training sessions generate conflict and emotion" and that "diversity training is perhaps a tyranny of virtue."[5]

In a paper published in the equal opportunity staff positions or diversity task forces, have proven most effective in general. However, the results also indicate that White females benefit significantly more from diversity training. The benefits for African American females and males were appreciably lower than European American females. Networking and mentoring, which were considered bias mitigating approaches, served African American females the most. African American males were the least likely to benefit from any of the methods.

The news media have used the study results to question the merits of financing the sizable diversity training industry. In January 2008, the Washington Post used quotes from “longtime diversity trainer” Dr. Billy E. Vaughn (Diversity Training University International) and others to make the point that Kalev’s research [7] suggests other strategies may be more effective than diversity training for mobilizing people of color and women into management roles.

Dr. Billy Vaughn wrote the article “The Short-Sighted Washington Post Article About Diversity Training” in response to the article. The Washington Post news article relied on research data that suggests that mandating sensitivity training for managers does not lead to increased management level positions for non-white males. In his response, Dr. Vaughn points out that the research is based on the assumption that one course or training can change behaviors that have taken a lifetime to develop. Dr. Vaughn wrote “most organizations engaged in a serious diversity effort today focus on building an inclusive organization, for which diversity training is one of several programs in a larger diversity education initiative.”[8]

The results of the study cited in the Washington Post article confirm what diversity professionals and human resource officers have known for a long time. "It takes a long-term effort to promote an inclusive organizational culture", states Dr. Vaughn in the article.

According to supporters of diversity training, the goal is to reach people's sense of empathy and morality. It seeks to address a sense of apathy that many people have because they do not think the problem affects them or they do not believe that they act in a racist manner.[9] Jane Elliott says racism is not inherent: "You are not born a racist. You have to carefully be taught to be one."[10] However, the manner in which these training sessions are conducted and Elliott's role as a trainer have drawn criticism.[11][12][13]

Elliott has also been accused of not recognizing the social and political changes that have occurred since the era in which she originally developed her version of the diversity training-exercise. Alan Charles Kors—a professor of history at University of Pennsylvania—noted, in his defense of students accused of shouting racial slurs in the water buffalo incident of 1993, that Elliott's exercise teaches "blood-guilt and self-contempt to whites," adding that "in her view, nothing has changed in America since the collapse of Reconstruction."[12]

Mercedes Martin and Dr. Billy Vaughn argue that most diversity training is based on a limited view of what it means to be culturally competent. In their article Cultural Competence: The Nuts and Bolts of Diversity & Inclusion, they point out the limitations of the view that diversity training is all about sensitivity and awareness raising. They state that diversity training based on a cultural competence perspective includes awareness, attitude, knowledge and skill building. From this perspective, focusing on sensitivity and awareness limits the effectiveness of diversity training because it is not based on an understanding of the range of potential other training content that may be needed to improve results.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Vaughn, B. "The history of diversity training and its pioneers", Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management, pp. 11-16, Spring 2007. Publications Division: San Francisco.
  2. ^ Orlando Richard, "Diversity at the Top May Boost the Bottom Line," September, 2010.[1]
  3. ^ Hans Bader: Diversity Training Backfires December 26, 2007. Accessed April 15, 2009.
  4. ^ Gail Heriot: White Guys Have No Rights. And They’d Better Shut Up If Think They Have (Part 1) December 23, 2007. Accessed April 15, 2009.
  5. ^ Fitzgerald v. Mountain States Tel & Tel. Co.
  6. ^ Alexandra Kalev, Frank Dobbin and Erin Kelley (2006), "Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies",  
  7. ^ Shankar Vedantam: Most Diversity Training Ineffective, Study Finds The Washington Post, p. A03, January 20, 2008
  8. ^ Vaughn, Billy. "The Short-Sighted Washington Post Article About Diversity Training". Diversity Blog. Retrieved January 20, 2008. 
  9. ^ PBS, "Class Divided - FRONTLINE". Last modified January 2003. Accessed April 17, 2014.
  10. ^ McPhee, Nicole (2001-08-09). "Doing diversity right: Renowned Iowa schoolteacher and discrimination educator get to the heart of the matter". Gauntlet News. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  11. ^  
  12. ^ a b Thought Reform 101; The Orwellian implications of today's college orientation by Alan Charles Kors, Reason; March 2000
  13. ^ NLPC Special Report The Authoritarian Roots of Corporate Diversity Training by the National Legal and Policy Center by Dr. Carl F. Horowitz
  14. ^ Martin, Mercedes; Vaughn, Billy. "CULTURAL COMPETENCE: The Nuts & Bolts of Diversity & Inclusion". Diversity Officer Magazine. Publications. Retrieved 2007. 

External links

  • about - by Joerg SchmitzReallyWhat Diversity & Inclusion is
  • What is the "diversity training" profession?- by Diversity Training University International
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.