Friday, November 22, 2019

Policing Thought in Corporate America

Just when you were starting to feel optimistic about the future of American business, we read this from the New York Times. A new industry has arisen, a true vampire squid, promoting diversity and inclusion in corporations, regardless of the effect it has on corporate morale. It seems as though the diversity industry, having warped the minds of college students, has now expanded its reach into corporate America.

One goal is to allow college students to believe that the nonsense they were fed on campus is not completely useless. The other reason is to provide job opportunities for students who majored in social justice. The final reason is to compromise the ability of corporate America to compete in world markets.

At the least, by all appearances, the diversity and inclusion counselors know nothing about business. Naturally, corporate America wants them to be controlling their employee’s minds.

The Times report showers the new diversity and inclusion industry with plaudits. And yet, it opens with an anecdote, from a sensitivity training session, where the white male participants expressed their feelings… about the fact that they were going to be attacked and denounced for bigotry:

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.

It is extremely difficult to make everyone bathe in warm feelings when you are stoking resentment. Diversity mongers believe that the targeted men had not gotten the message. That is, they had not suffered sufficient brainwashing an indoctrination sessions.

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.”

The more salient point is that certain people do not have the right to think what they want to think. They are being subjected to Stalinist brainwashing, being forced to think what their overlords want them to think. But they are also being told that their achievements count for nothing if they do not feel the right feelings about diversity.

If they do not stand up and offer heartfelt self-criticism, they will be taxed with unconscious bias:

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.

Rather than sugar coat the issue with a bunch of empty platitudes, why not note that these diversity and inclusion consultants function like the thought police. They want ensure that you use incorrect grammar, lest you hurt someone’s feelings. Now, as though you did not have anything else to do you will be obliged to recall the preferred pronouns of everyone you deal with.

Even at a well-intentioned company that espouses progressive values, there will inevitably be slips of the tongue and insensitive emails: the wrong pronoun, an outdated term, an assumption about how a person identifies him, her or themself. The glossary of appropriate terminology and inclusive acronyms and abbreviations is constantly evolving.

Even the experts are learning on the job. While running a recent panel, Ms. Brown asked the participants to indicate their preferred pronouns when they introduced themselves.

Ms. Bowser also recalled a slip-up: She was at a conference with a woman (post-gender transition) whom she had originally met as a man. In conversation with this person and others, Ms. Bowser accidentally referred to her as he instead of she. The D.E.I. expert was mortified and later sent an apology email.

Seriously, do you really think that this is improving corporate performance.

Still and all, McKinsey has produced a study showing that more diversity means better profits, or some such:

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.

If such is really the case, the greedy plutocrats who run American business will not need to bring in the thought police. Then again, Silicon Valley tech titans are invariably run by white and Asian males. Would they be more powerful if they were more inclusive and more diverse? The easy answer would be to find a more diverse and inclusive company that is outperforming the tech titans.

We also note that when corporations in Norway were forced to have more women on their boards of directors their profitability fell.

The diversity and inclusion counselors encourage indiscretion:

The company strives to generate inclusion with initiatives like featuring personal stories from employees on Instagram and selling rainbow Pride laptop skin. “It’s become an integrative piece of how companies engage in their broader ecosystem,” she said.

We all know by now that in American companies certain people are overly familiar, overly informal and even overly personal. Do you really think that encouraging oversharing is going to tamp down instances of sexual harassment?


UbuMaccabee said...

I cannot comment because I work for a large corporation that is infested with dangerous woke robots, and anything I say will be used to destroy a 30-year career over one sentence on a message board. But internally, informally, we talk, and what we say is not in line with what "Laura Bowser, the board chair and former C.E.O. of TMI Consulting Inc., a D.E.I. strategy company in Richmond, Va" says. The essential workforce is not amused.

David Foster said...

Years ago, I was at a company management training course at which one of the outside speakers-a Jungian psychologist--talked about the importance of diversity....*personality and conceptual style* diversity. He made the point that you will be naturally inclined to hire people who are like you, and if you don't resist this temptation, you will all have the same blind spots and happily walk off the cliff together.

As far a personality and conceptual style diversity goes, I think he was right. There really are big differences in how individuals perceive the world and how they think about it. But to what degree does *this* kind of diversity link to the race/sex/sexual-preference kind of diversity now being so strongly pushed? Probably to some degree, but far from 100%. You can have an organization that is perfectly balanced by race and gender, with appropriate representation for all sexual preferences, and still have all similar-thinkers.

UbuMaccabee said...

David, I think what Daniel Kahneman is saying accords with your "personality and perceptual style" observations, and I agree with you (and Kahneman). These are potentially complementary processes of reasoning. Together they can be formidable.

Race/sex/gender (class has been passe for years) is on another planet entirely. It replaces reasoning with un-reason, or worse, emotional infantilism. Nothing can thrive in that environment except chaos. Leftism is the love of chaos.

JPL17 said...

The so-called "experts" have reversed the direction of causation. The reason businesses in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are the most successful financially, is that firms that become financially successful can better afford to diversify. If "diversity" becomes their main priority, however, that success will almost certainly be short-lived -- which of course will prove that they had causation backwards (not that they'll ever admit it).

Sam L. said...

"Virtue" signalling. Es stupido! (OK, fake(?) Spanish.)
"Even at a well-intentioned company that espouses progressive values,..." Have I mentioned that the word "progressive" always reminds me of CANCER?

David Foster said, "You can have an organization that is perfectly balanced by race and gender, with appropriate representation for all sexual preferences, and still have all similar-thinkers." And they're ALL in lockstep and headed for the precipice.

Christopher B said...

David, the focus on race, gender, and sexual orientation bean-counting is basically a cover for hiring people with uniformly narrowly focused outlooks. Get woke, go broke.

n.n said...

Diversity (i.e. color judgment, labels) and exclusion, not limited to race, sex, and gender. Another euphemism normalized by the Pro-Choice Chamber.

sestamibi said...

None of this would have happened without men allowing the ascendancy of women in power (and cf. following blog entry "But, That's How I Feel!"

Always remember the two overarching principles of contemporary feminism:

1) The truth is whatever I believe it to be.

2) Life must be all bliss, all the time, and government must step in to make it so. I must never have any disappointment in life, and must never have my pwecious widdle feewings hurt.