I have been engaged in cultural diversity advocacy and training for over to 50 years now. This has given me plenty time to notice that every few years a new buzzword comes along, which will hopefully sell more services to corporate clients. We have moved from social justice, "doing the right thing," to serving the ROI, and now to talent management and inclusion as the language of branding in the consulting and training industry.
Awareness and attitudinal change are rarely affected to any great degree by information and policy setting. The skills and tools we need as trainers and coaches to reach the hearts as well as the minds of our clients and participants are often denied us, either as intrusions into personal space, or, simply excluded by the diminishing hours and resources allowed for interventions to be effective. Powerful simulations have been replaced by mini-exercises, and successful programs often evaluated as such by the fact that they have successfully "preached to the choir."
We continue to rearrange the deck chairs on this Titanic exercise known as diversity instead of examining the course of the ship being steered from the pilothouse. Let's face it, bias and disadvantage are essential elements for keeping capitalism on its own course. To have us blaming each other, immigrants, and ourselves, rather than the economic structures maintained for the profit of the few, is an essential element in plotting the course. Differences are okay if they contribute to profit, or if they can be used to obfuscate the real sources of our social and political ills. It is essential that people label and dislike each other, for example, to make sure that the arms industry remains robust and obscenely profitable.
Excuse the rant, but surface ethics and inclusion banter are likely to guarantee more of the same old, same old. We must be committed to more.
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