Tag Archives: diversity training

Broken System, Part II: “Diversity Training”

by Guest Contributor CVT, originally published at Choptensils


In the first part of my “Broken System” series, I addressed the need for a landmark Supreme Court decision to be able to adequately affect the inequalities inherent in our public school system. In response, the inevitable debate began: what would actually fix these problems? A lot of great ideas have been suggested. However, at this point, many of the big changes proposed would be hard to push through, even with government backing, due to the mind-set of our general society. This post offers a possible solution to significantly alter our culture’s relationship to race, which could lead to positive change within our education system.

As a teacher and youth worker, I’ve been through my fair share of “diversity trainings.” And let’s just skip to the point and say that most of them are a big waste of time. They’re either too simple and obvious for people with any sort of awareness (or personal experience), or they’re too superficial to get anybody who really needs it to take it to heart. A couple hours of “diversity training” is never going to help a youth worker relate to kids of other races or backgrounds and/or get over their own sub-conscious (or conscious) biases.

The main problem, of course, is that these “trainings” come too late. Way too late. We wait until these folks are grown adults, with decades of experiences and ways of thinking behind them, and then we pretend that we can change their minds with some magical training. It doesn’t work like that. And we know that.

So how are we supposed to change race relations in our schools (and country)? How are we supposed to address volatile situations like the one in South Philadelphia High?

Well – what if we actually got over ourselves enough to talk to youth about it all? What if we directly addressed these issues? What if we taught our kids that talking about race isn’t a bad thing, that it can actually be helpful and positive? What then? Continue reading

Is This Racist… Against Whites?

by Racialicious guest contributor Jennifer Fang, originally published at Reappropriate

Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown is causing a stir. A constituent of his saw this diversity video and thought it was racist – against Whites — and Councilman Brown agrees.

(The full video is 8 minutes long and available for download here)

Brown thinks that the video attacks blue-collar workers in Denver, because it “implies that it is only White, blue-collar workers who commit these kinds of statements”.

On a segment aired on CNN during Primetime with Erica Hill (linked above), Councilman Brown and Stephen Viscusi, a radio host of a show called “On the Job” discuss the video. Both Brown and Viscusi argue that the segment perpetuates an antiquated interpretation of racism by not showing joksters of different colours and creeds. However, Brown further argues that even showing the kinds of jokes highlighted in this video is embarassing and anachronistic, and that nobody even talks like that anymore — which is so out-of-touch with reality that it’s hard to imagine that this guy ever got elected to anything.

The message seems to be from the discussion that diversity training will embarass Whites unless they see that minorities can be racist, too.

I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. While it’s true that the video is kind of kitschy, it shows one White person — in an office where the only person of colour is the Black narrator whom no one else can see — making offensive jokes while the other White co-workers look on disapprovingly. So to argue that the video sends the message that all White blue-collar workers are racist is, I think, not looking at the video in its entirety.

Second, I’m strongly against the idea that racist jokes perpetuated by Whites against people of colour (or other minorities) is the same — and should be treated the same — as jokes spoken by a person of colour against someone else. They are all racist (and probably un-funny) and should not be tolerated, but let’s not forget the whole concept of oppression and power.

But, hey, this is a post dashed off in ten minutes, so my thoughts might still not be fully formed (or at least not well articulated). What do you all think?