Friday, August 27, 2010

The Authoritarian Roots of Corporate [and Educational Institution] Diversity Training

Find a PDF copy of "The Authoritarian Roots of Corporate Diversity Training" here or here. It's an excellent and enlightening read. Carl Horowitz, the author, introduces readers to the origins of a human experiment exercise widely used in "diversity training sessions."
The pull-quotes are superb reading, even if you can't take time to read the whole document. Save the PDF for future use and reference.
Diversity training, even when imposed with a smiling face, tends to resemble a sadistic elementary-school group exercise. There’s a good reason for this: That’s exactly how it began nearly 40 years ago and operated until the Eighties, when the pillars of corporate governance began to be convinced of its necessity. More than anyone else, we have a retired rural Midwest school teacher, Jane Elliott, to thank for this state of affairs.
Here are a few pull-quotes.
Do CEOs really believe the diversity claptrap or do they put on a happy face to avoid legal and other problems? Either way, they are acting in a manner contrary to the best interests of their companies, shareholders and the public at large.
Jane Elliott herself, ironically, knows her training methods carry an ugly power. She once told an interviewer, “It was just horrifying how quickly they became what I told them they were.”
Elliott’s exercises originally began, literally, as child abuse. They have evolved to reducing adults to the level of abused children—fearful, whimpering and apologetic for nonexistent offenses.
Anyone who still has one's critical faculties, after having endured the berating and belittling accusations of racism by diversiphiles in "diversity training" sessions who simply presume guilt of racism by all who bear light skin coloration, surely will resonate with this assessment of "diversity training" that employs the methods of Jane Elliott. "Who is Jane Elliott?" you may ask. Well, I asked the same question. Jane Elliott was an elementary school teacher in Riceville, Iowa in the 1960s. Perhaps more influential than anyone else, she adapted what was then called "sensitivity training" into "diversity training," which has become a cash cow for herself and for other diversiphiles. Jane Elliott is the one who concocted what has come to be known as the "blue eyes/brown eyes exercise." In 1968, after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, Elliott divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and then proceeded to demean the one group and praise the other with such assertions as,
Blue-eyed people are better than brown-eyed people. Oh yes they are! Blue-eyed people are smarter than brown-eyed people. Is your dad brown-eyed? One day you came to school and you told us that he kicked you. Do you think a blue-eyed father would kick his son? . . . This is a fact. Blue-eyed people are better than brown-eyed people. . . . The blue-eyed people get five extra minutes of recess while the brown-eyed people have to stay in. The brown-eyed people do not get to use the drinking fountain. You have to use the paper cups. You brown-eyed people are not to play with the blue-eyed people on the playground, because you are not as good as blue-eyed people. The brown-eyed people today will wear collars so that we call tell from a distance what color your eyes are. . . .  You begin to notice today that we have spent a great deal of time waiting for brown-eyed people. . . . Who goes first for lunch today? Blue-eyed people. No brown-eyed people go back for seconds. Blue-eyed people may go back for seconds. Brown-eyed people do not.
The following day, Elliott reversed the roles of the children in her human experiment.
Yesterday, I told you that brown-eyed people aren't as good as blue-eyed people. That wasn't true. I lied to you yesterday. The truth is that brown-eyed people are better than blued-eyed people. . . . The brown-eyed people get an extra five minutes of recess. You blue-eyed people are not allowed to be on the playground equipment at any time. You blue-eyed people are not to play with the brown-eyed people. Brown-eyed people are better than blue-eyed people. They're smarter than blue-eyed people. And if you don't believe it, look at Brian. Do blue-eyed people know how to sit in a chair? Very sad! Very, very sad! . . . Brown-eyed people learn fast. Boy, do brown-eyed people learn fast! . . . Blue-eyed people are wasteful.
Watch the video below. Elliott's human experiment incited hostilities between children, including a fight on the playground during recess.

Except for the fact that what Elliott launched on that day in 1968 has become mainstream practice in America's schools and corporations, today, such hostile and divisive human experimentation would be condemned as "child abuse." As shown within a larger quote, Elliott, herself, admits, "I think you could damage a child with this exercise very, very easily." But alas! Instead of averting the potential damage, Jane Elliott has mainstreamed her human experiment exercise. For this she is highly praised by all who have been duped to embrace her human experimentation that actually authorizes and exploits insulting, demeaning, degrading, disgusting, and divisive behavior purposefully to incite hostilities in order to effectuate the experiment. Watch the video provided below and see abuse of individuals in action, abuse of both children and adults.

This exercise entails far more than role-playing. What goes on in these human experimentation sessions is not confined to these sessions. Group identity political power emerges from these sessions, for, despite protests to the contrary, these human experimentations sessions embolden many individuals who find their identity with alleged oppressed groups, now protected classes, carry their voiced grievances out of the sessions to inflict them regularly against anyone who dares to object to the immoral nature of the experiment or points out its counterproductive effects. Individuals who register any objection against the methods and divisive consequences of "diversity training" sessions quickly discover that the human experiment session never ends precisely because it is far more than an experiment or exercise. It is a "brainwashing session," a "re-education session." The animus exhibited against objectors during these sessions persists interminably, or at least until the objector finally succumbs to re-education, sometimes even costing individuals their employment.

Where division, hostility, and racial animosity did not formerly exist, whenever any variety of the "blue-eyed/brown-eyed"  human experiment is imposed, following such sessions, real divisions, hostilities, and racial animosities now exist. Diversiphiles incite hostilities against anyone who dares to disagree not only with their imposed experiments but also with the imposition of their ideology and practices that biases their thinking so that they impose an experiment that breeds the very divisions they allegedly intend to avert. That they do not recognize the unintended consequences renders them diversiphiles.

Reasonable people surely ought to recognize the damage, destruction, and grave injury Elliott's human experimentation has upon human relations in general and upon inter-racial human relations in particular. Elliott herself admits that on that day in 1968, "I watched what had been marvelous, cooperative, wonderful, thoughtful children turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating little third-graders in the space of fifteen minutes."

Carl Horowitz rightly concludes,
This, in a nutshell, is the essence of totalitarianism in all contexts—warfare against happy, confident people in the hopes of transforming them into timid “almost-people.” The question therefore should arise: If Elliott is fully aware of such consequences, why has she continuously pursued them for nearly four decades? And why have corporations, supposedly repositories of money and power, meekly acceded to her demands and those of her proxy allies? Diversity enthusiasts, despite their occasional feints toward reasonableness, are fanatic in their goal of rooting out racial bias. In that, they have learned well the lessons of their original mentor.
Near the close of the video Elliott admits,
I think the necessity for this exercise is a crime. No, I don't want to see it used more widely. I want to see the necessity for it wiped out. And I think that if educators were determined, that we could be very instrumental in wiping out the necessity for this exercise. But I want to see something used. I'd like to see this exercise used with all teachers, all administrators, but certainly not with all students, unless, unless it's done by people who are doing it for the right reasons and in the right way. I think you could damage a child with this exercise very, very easily. And I would never suggest that everybody should use it.
If any college professor were to accost verbally college students the way Jane Elliott verbally accosts her third-grade students, as seen repeatedly in the video below, such a professor ought to be fired promptly.

The following includes actual video of Elliott's human experiment imposed on her third-grade class the third time around.

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