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The Corporate Diversity Scam By: Ryan O’Donnell
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 27, 2003


Under the guise of "diversity training," the intolerance of the political Left has penetrated corporate America. Initially implemented to both insulate companies from lawsuits while fostering a more harmonious working environment, corporate diversity training has turned the twenty-first century workplace into a war zone. Throughout the last decade, corporate diversity departments and well-paid external "diversity consultants" have instituted training programs specifically designed to enforce political correctness in corporations.

The demand for conformity inherent to these programs is undeniable. Despite their stated purpose, corporate "diversity" departments have demonstrated a fundamental lack of tolerance for any diversity in employee thought and have made basic decency in the workplace a matter of swallowing political correctness. Employing behavior modification techniques popular with totalitarian regimes, they have spent the last decade intimidating and indoctrinating employees.

Before many corporate diversity programs begin their campaign of employee behavior modification, a workshop facilitator often attempts to identify the employees most in need of re-education. For example, the opening exercise from a diversity program used by AT&T, Chevron and Nabisco works as follows. When the workshop begins, employees must sit in a circle and give an immediate "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" response to statements provided by a workshop facilitator on subjects such as affirmative action, inter-racial marriage and AIDS in the workplace.

According to the program’s creator, the statements are designed to provoke a "gut" response, so that the facilitator can essentially gain insight into each employee’s susceptibility to the message of political correctness. If any employees’ responses "indicate confusion or bias" or seem incompatible with the ideology being presented by the workshop, facilitators are urged to "waste no time in seeking help from a diversity consultant, corporate attorney or other human resource facilitators."1  In other words, Maoist self-criticism circles have come to the office.

This attitude of ideological intolerance reveals the most fundamentally frightening element of such diversity workshops: any opinion expressed that conflicts with the workshop teachings is inherently invalid and indicates "confusion," an unfortunate condition that requires further, more drastic indoctrination techniques. Not to mention, of course, an increase in corporate diversity spending. Decent behavior, tolerance, and non-discrimination towards one’s fellow-employees is not enough; employees are required to buy into a set of political attitudes.

The reasonable solution to the problems that the diversity industry claims to solve is obvious. It is in fact what most businesses too small to be worth shaking down do: set straightforward rules that employees must not discriminate or harrass and enforce them. That’s it. There is no need to inflame the naturally-occurring tensions of a diverse society by trying to coercively manipulate people’s attitudes. And political controversies have no place in the office or factory floor.

Back to the diversity programs: after any "confused" employees are identified, the diversity facilitator launches a multi-faceted assault designed to force the resisting individuals to conform. Tactics range from group pressure, in which the facilitator encourages politically-correct employees to pressure non-conformist co-workers into accepting the consensus view, to isolation in which the dissenting individual is ostracized from the group.

Such tactics have drawn comparison to the Tavistock Method of behavior modification, a technique once employed by Soviet mental hospitals to "re-educate" political prisoners. In order to manufacture a consensus:

"a controlled stress situation is created by a group leader ("facilitator") with the ostensible goal of achieving a consensus or agreement which has, in reality, been predetermined.  By using peer pressure in gradually increasing increments, up to and including yelling at, cursing at, and isolating the holdouts, weaker individuals are intimidated into caving in.  They emerge, facilitators hope, with a new value structure in place, and the goal is achieved."2

Diversity seminars and sensitivity training groups have also been known to use physically traumatic events to break non-conformists. In the mid-1990’s, male employees of the Federal Aviation Agency were tied to a toilet together while female employees were forced to bathe in the same shower. Female employees were also made to share a bed with their male supervisors, and some participants even reported that they were sleep deprived and then verbally assaulted. But the most disturbing element of the FAA diversity training sessions were exercises in which groups of dissenting, or even potentially dissenting employees, were tormented by their peers. For example, in a one FAA diversity-training program, white males were "verbally castigated" by their black co-workers and then forced to run a gauntlet in which they were aggressively fondled by their female co-workers.3

While diversity workshops’ employment of behavior modification tactics allows for increased susceptibility of their politically correct ideology, it has also enabled an entire industry to be constructed around the concept of corporate diversity training. Diversity consulting has become a financial gravy train for a parasitic class of consultants and the lawyers they dig up lawsuits for.

Forbes Magazine reports that U.S companies spend as much as ten billion dollars per year on corporate diversity training. According to the Wall Street Journal, "a network of hot lines, crises centers and advocacy groups, many with close ties to plaintiff’s lawyers, has emerged to advise persons troubled by sex in the workplace."

Nolo Press has even released a self-help book entitled Sexual Harassment on the Job that comes complete with a handy reference guide detailing key phrases "A lawyer wants to hear," such as "Fairly serious harassment," "personal injuries (the more serious the better), " and "a solvent defendant." These examples are just a glimpse of the sexual harassment component of the industry. Racial discrimination and sexual orientation have also fostered the creation of similarly lucrative alliances between the diversity industry and the bar.4

The corporate diversity industry has created a sanctuary where careerist radicals can continue to spew their racially divisive message even as mainstream America continues to reject their politics. Nearly all of the early leaders of the diversity industry are products of sixties leftism. Marilyn Loden, Elsie Cross, Judith Katz, Mark Chesler, Lillian Roybal Rose, Tom Kochman, and Price Cobbs all developed their ideology through experiences in higher education, race relations, and the civil rights movement.5 Despite the nearly wholesale rebuke of their far-Left "diversity" agenda by American public opinion as revealed in polls, these radicals have kept their ideology alive by slowly migrating from academia and the civil rights establishment to the corporate boardroom.

Has this vast industry improved conditions in the workplace? All signs say no. Harassment and discrimination complaints continue to skyrocket and workplace tensions increase. This is no surprise, as the diversity industry has an intrinsic interest in encouraging people to be upset and making the situation as bad as possible. Many white or male employees feel alienated, decreasing the morale of a significant employee demographic and creating resentments that poison the work environment. The imposition of a groupthink mentality on corporations also strangles creative energy, the lifeblood of a successful company.

Worse, corporations have been intimidated to the point where an employee’s ability to navigate the corporate ladder seems to center around "diversity" characteristics, as opposed to actual ability. This is a threat to the competitiveness of American companies – their Japanese and Chinese competitors certainly don’t have to deal with this nonsense in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

By exploiting corporate America’s lawsuit paranoia, "diversity pioneers" have managed to develop an incredibly lucrative war chest which allows them to continue their radical crusade. The political Left’s corporate shakedown has proved so lucrative that these consultants have taken every possible step to ensure that businesses continue to feel pressured into retaining their consulting services. They lobby for more legislation in order to provide more grounds for lawsuits, which then pay for more lobbying and the vicious cycle continues.

Their system works: discrimination and harassment complaints have risen a whopping 231% since 1991. The spike in corporate sexual harassment and discrimination issues does not stem from increased awareness, as those on the political Left would encourage us to believe. Rather, the same manufactured tension and paranoia that left the workplace susceptible to groupthink indoctrination has naturally led to an increase in harassment and discrimination issues. Subsequently, the "need" for more frequent, more intensive, and of course, more expensive diversity training arises. It’s the perfect scam.

Presently, one of the most popular trends in corporate America is the "cultural audit." Initially conceived as a way to limit bias-based lawsuits, these cultural audits have degenerated into one of the most lethal weapons in the politically correct careerist’s arsenal. For a mere $20,000-$35,000, a Washington DC-based consulting firm will perform a "cultural audit" of your company in order to reveal any discriminatory or insensitive practices. Once one of these audits is concluded, the company being investigated is naturally revealed to suffer from some sort of culturally, sexually, or racially biased work environment. These charges are then reported to corporate executives, who, eager to avoid legal difficulties, hire the consultant, or an organization connected to the consultant, to conduct diversity or sensitivity training.

For these consultants, this diversity mandate means conducting "cultural awareness seminars," which not only continues to fill consultants’ coffers while spreading a politically correct ideology, but by creating more discontent in the workplace, these consultants increase the need for more costly seminars and training sessions.

Frequently, these "cultural awareness seminars" preach a message of pure racial poison. One consultant teaches employees that:

"Euro-Americans are acquisitive, for them ‘the highest value lies in the object,’ or in obtaining it. This group ‘knows through counting and measuring.’ For Blacks, Hispanics and Arabs, ‘the highest value lies in the interpersonal relationship among men.’ This group knows ‘through symbolic imagery and rhythm.’ Asians, on the other hand, ‘know through striving toward transcendence.’"6

Despite corporate diversity training’s expressed goal of fostering respect for the rights of each individual employee, cultural "awareness programs" often serve only to perpetuate racial stereotypes while increasing the likelihood of racial enmity in the workplace. For example, when a prominent Washington DC based consultant addressed a group of 300 Bureau of Labor Statistics employees, he explained to them:

"We can’t ask non-whites to maintain ‘white’ standards. If a pair of black employees arrives late for a meeting, it’s not because they don’t have the company’s best interests in mind. They may have been chatting in the hallway, developing those personal relationships."7

Due to such awareness seminars, co-workers are no longer identifiable by name or interest, but by race, gender or sexual preference. Once peers begin identifying themselves racially, culturally or sexually, inherent differences that once may have been of little concern are suddenly thrust into the limelight. But this is just what the consultants want, since out of this manufactured tension comes an increase in all discrimination and harassment complaints, furthering the need for diversity consultants.

Occasionally a brave individual simply refuses to bend before the pressures employed by corporate diversity departments. On October 11th 2002, the Kodak Corporation, as part of the company’s continuing "Winning & Inclusive Culture" campaign, sent out a memo to all employees regarding the Human Rights Campaign's annual "Coming Out Day." Among other things, the memo ordered employees to:

"Acknowledge your level of awareness of this topic, and share your personal willingness to understand. Acknowledge his/her courage to publicly share this personal information." 8

One employee, 23-year Kodak veteran and devout Christian Rolf Szabo took offense to the memo and emailed the company the following response:

"Please do not send this type of information to me anymore, as I find it disgusting and offensive."9

Mr. Szabo’s right to express his religious beliefs in the workplace is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin. The "sex" mentioned in Title VII refers to gender based discrimination against a person. It contains no legal reference to homosexuality.

However, the corporate thought-police have little use for Federal Statues. Szabo was immediately reprimanded by his supervisor, who informed the entire company that,

"our behaviors must align to the Kodak values [as outlined in the Winning and Inclusive Culture] campaign."10

Szabo was then asked to sign an employee commitment plan stating he regretted what he had written and outlining steps to prevent a similar incident from reoccurring. When Szabo refused to reconcile his Catholic faith with Kodak’s Winning and Inclusive Program, he was fired.

What is truly terrifying about the Szabo - Kodak incident is that Szabo was fired not because he violated any law or statute, but because he rejected the groupthink mentality demanded by Kodak. No longer is job performance or company loyalty sufficient for continued employment; an employee’s core beliefs must now conform to a Leftist political agenda.

 

Footnotes:

1.  Vasthead.com/diverse/diverse.html

2.  Eakman, B.K., "Cloning of the American Mind: Eradicating Morality Through Education," pp. 194, Huntington House, 1998.

3.  www.vasthead.com/Diverse/diverse.html

4.  walterolson.com/articles.ctsens.html

5.  www.simonsays.com/excerpt.cfm?areaid=33&isbn=0684822830

6.  www.sptimes.com/news/022700/news_pf/Perspective /Sensitivity_training-.shtml

7.  Ibid.

8.  www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=29394

9.  Ibid.

10. Ibid.


Ryan O’Donnell is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. He currently resides in Washington DC, where he is at work on his first novel. Please visit him at http://www.RyanODonnell.com or email him at raodonne@hotmail.com.


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