Why DEI Training Doesn’t Work—

There’s also no question that the way organizations deal with it is more likely to hurt than help.

Meanwhile, advocates for DEI—which stands for diversity, equity and inclusion—have bemoaned the fact that after decades of diversity training, many university faculties, state agencies and corporations have made little progress on diversifying the workforce.

Are the right and the left on the same page here—is diversity training a hopeless cause?

Yes, it is. But those that profit from this deranged programming don’t want to admit fail. Despite decades of failure


Research from one of us, Frank Dobbin (with Alexandra Kalev), meanwhile, shows how likely a worker in a U.S. firm is to have a management job, by group. Women and people of color see increases until the mid-1980s. But progress stalls for Black and Hispanic workers after that. Men from those groups make no progress between then and 2021, and women make almost no progress. We clearly have more work to do to equalize opportunity.

Decades of DEI brainwashing haven’t resulted in the change that had been anticipated or sold. Why? I’m going to dare to make a suggestion, a bold suggestion.. the problem can’t be fixed by DEI brainwashing- Because it hasn’t worked for decades. So, unless youre insane (same thing over and over, expecting a different result) it’s time to start looking in another direction..

… Dobbin and Kalev have shown, the typical DEI training doesn’t educate people about bias and may even do harm.

Most training programs fall short on two fronts. First, they use implicit-bias education to shame trainees for holding stereotypes. Trainers play gotcha, sending trainees to take an online test co-developed by one of us, Mahzarin Banaji, for education and research. Instead of training people about research that finds that bias is pervasive, trainers use the test to prove to trainees that they are morally flawed. People leave feeling guilty for holding biases that conflict with American values.

“Gotcha” isn’t going to win people over. The approach is disrespectful

The second problem with most trainings is that they seek to solve the problem of bias by invoking the law to scare people about the risk of letting bias go unchecked. Trainers recount stories of big companies brought to their heels by discrimination suits. They detail rigid do’s and don’ts for hiring, disciplining and firing people. They require trainees to pass tests on what the law forbids. All of this makes it clear that the CEO approved the training solely to avoid litigation. Trainees leave scared that they will be punished for a simple mistake that may land their company in court.  

Trainings with this one-two punch—you are biased and the law will get you—backfire. The research shows that this kind of training leads to reductions in women and people of color in management.

DEI Trainer Mocked Principal in Training Session (using shame) he later killed himself

An anti-racism instructor was recorded mocking and laughing at a beloved Toronto principal who challenged her teachings — holding him up as an example of white supremacy “resistance,” according to a report.

Richard Bilkszto, 60, later committed suicide.

Bilkszto’s July death came after diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, instructor Kike Ojo-Thompson proclaimed Canada was more racist than the United States, a statement the principal pushed back on.

Ojo-Thompson was hired by the Toronto District School Board in 2021 to provide four DEI training sessions to staff.

“You and your whiteness ( a racist commentary) think that you can tell me what’s really going on with black people,” she told Bilkszto, according to a lawsuit filed by the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism against the school board.

In audio obtained by The Free Press, Ojo-Thompson brought it up again at the following session a week later.

“One of the ways that white supremacy is upheld, protected, reproduced, upkept, defended is through resistance and, like I said … I’m so lucky,” she said before laughing. 

She was so lucky she got to make and example out of someone she was framing as a white supremacist.

“Who would’ve thought my luck would show up so well last week that we got perfect evidence, a wonderful example of resistance that you all got to bear witness to, so we’re going to talk about it, because, I mean, it doesn’t get better than this,” she continued as others chimed in to back her up.

Ridicule, Shame. Ostracizing. Denigrating. All in the name of DEI training.

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