Since the death of George Floyd at the knee of Derek Chauvin, the ensuing protests, and a resulting flood of mass support for the Black Lives Matter movement, those of us who address Critical Social Justice scholarship and activism have been receiving a veritable tide of direct messages and emails requesting advice and help. We receive so much that it is simply not possible to keep up with.
As no one will be surprised to find out, absolutely none of our correspondents are in any doubt that black lives, as the lives of human beings who are every bit as equal in that status as everyone else, do, indeed, matter. The 1960s ended, in fact, some half a century ago. Nonetheless, they all share a concern that their employer, university, or children’s school seems to think otherwise and is therefore requiring an affirmation to a very specific understanding of “racism” and “anti-racism,” as exemplified by the work of scholars and activists like Robin DiAngelo, Layla Saad, Reni Eddo-Lodge, and Ibram X. Kendi. This requirement may take the form of “training” (or “re-training” or “re-education”) of employees, teaching of students—both adults and children—or the writing of statements affirming one’s commitment to this Theoretical understanding of “racism” and this peculiar, unevidenced method of “anti-racist” activism.
This has alarmed many people who are writing to us, not because they want to be able to be racist at work, university, or school, but because they do not share these specific conceptions of racism or this conception of society. They generally believe the proposed means of addressing racism to be neither effective nor ethical. That is, they do not believe, as DiAngelo and Saad argue, that white people are all unavoidably socialized into “racism” and need to recognize and confront their “racism.” They disagree with Eddo-Lodge and Kendi’s assertions that it is not possible to be “not-racist” and that one can only be “racist” or “anti-racist” (which Kendi has gone further to note is not something one can “become,” comparing anti-racism to addiction recovery, in which the person never escapes their addiction but can be “in recovery”). Not everyone believes racism works this way, nor should they be required to.
Some people who write us go further and even, rightly, recognize that the choice often isn’t the naive and false one between “racist” and “anti-racist” but, instead, between “‘racist’ who does ‘anti-racism’” and “‘racist’ who doesn’t.” Further, many do not accept that their skepticism in this regard means they are suffering from “white fragility” and that they need to stop it and get with the program. Sometimes, they are pretty sure they are not suffering from “white fragility” because they are not white. Other times, they simply believe something different about how society works, what constitutes moral responsibility and complicity in a problem, and how humans beings think and act in the world. Many think that they should have the right to oppose racism from their own political, religious, or philosophical worldview, or even that it’s a personal matter that they need only right in themselves or, if they cannot, keep out of public interactions to the best of their abilities. All of these people are right to think any of this, and they write to us to tell us just how frustrating it is that they’re told they’re not allowed to be, often as a matter of compulsion in their workplaces and schools, or those of their children.
Many of the people who write to us ask for our help in writing a letter expressing this feeling in a way that might be effective, and some people have taken our advice and then reported back on the results. This has shown us that it is possible to push back at authoritarian overreach in the names of “Social Justice” or “anti-racism” and persuade employers and coworkers to expand their scope to include a broader range of worldviews in their anti-discrimination initiatives. Near the bottom of this long essay, a sample letter that could be taken and adapted to your own setting is therefore provided.
Specifically, people have reported back to us that they have achieved this headway against the tide by making it clear that the Critical Social Justice framework is based on a very specific underlying ideology that firstly, their employer may not wish to tie to his or her business, and, secondly, that enforcing it on non-believers is a clear breach of freedom of belief (which might even be legally actionable). Therefore, we have developed a comprehensive letter template that people can pick and choose bits from and adapt to their own specific situation. The letter needs to address both principles and practicalities and whatever the situation, there are two main points it is important to establish.
- That you are familiar with the main tenets of Critical Social Justice (CSJ). You are coming from a place of knowledge, not ignorance;
- That you fully support racial, gender, and LGBT equality. You are coming from a place of egalitarian principles, not bigotry.
There is also the crucial matter of approach. Taking the right approach to this issue will determine much of whether or not you have success, and your approach has at least three facets.
- Tone: you must adopt the correct tone: concerned and reasonable, noncombative though firm;
- Broad concerns, not narrow: caring about the issues but fearing overreactions, caring about harm but fearing legal exposure, caring about injustices but worrying about divisiveness;
- Organization and willingness to take the matter further if needed, including to publicizing your remarks or to courts: you cannot fight a machine alone, but if you must, speak to recruit helpers, not to win the fight.
This outlines a straightforward template for approaching the issue that can be filled in as the specifics of your situation dictate:
- Begin with acknowledgement of the issue and why your organization is making a response at all.
- Indicate concern in a broad sense, beginning with the concern for the underlying issue, need for dialogue and action, and then expressing broader concerns, especially that hasty decisions could create unintended problems.
- Demonstrate that this concern is well-founded by explaining your familiarity with the fundamental tenets of CSJ (see, for example, our forthcoming book, Cynical Theories, explaining this) and examples in which it has been put into practice (e.g., The Evergreen State College).
- Illustrate some specific problems with the proffered approach, both theoretically (e.g., contradictions, unfairness, kafkatraps, etc.) and in application; express concern about these damaging the organization and its mission.
- Acknowledge the underlying problem again and suggest/remind that there are other ways to approach it.
- Provide some examples from liberal, egalitarian principles, make suggestions for genuine leadership training or alternative approaches to engaging diversity successfully (i.e., IKEA effect exercises, antifragility models, and so on).
- Express plainly that you believe the current course of action is a mistake that, while it signifies intention to take on the problems of current concern, could exacerbate the issues or create other new ones.
- Close with a thank you and invitation to more discussion and a willingness to take leadership roles with regard to navigating the issue, if needed or appropriate.
This template should be easily adapted into concrete letters that people can start to write and conversations they can have for themselves in the contexts of their own organizational environments. To help fill in the harder details, we shall now explain these underlying principles for this rough template.
First, Understand Critical Social Justice
That you demonstrate your competence with Critical Social Justice ideas is very important. The training session or whatever you are being compelled or strongly encouraged to attend works on the assumption that you have biases you are not even aware of and that you will need to be trained to see them. This is because the worldview at hand believes people with systemic power on their sides are socialized—literally brainwashed by the power dynamics of society—to believe that they earned their dominance and that it is appropriate and natural, thus invisible to them. The training will assume that you will be resistant and defensive because you are fragile or reactionary and won’t want to confront your racism. It will label you not just ignorant but willfully ignorant—you don’t know and you don’t want to know. This means that all disagreement can be dismissed or even turned against you.
Therefore, it is important to use language that shows that you already understand how CSJ works and your concerns come from a place of knowledge rather than ignorance. Any reasonable person will immediately see that this is a very bogus and cynical bit of mind-reading to avoid legitimate criticism and thus anything built upon it shouldn’t be trusted as coming from a place of informed expertise and evidence-backed efficacy. Nevertheless, it is important to use language that shows that you already understand how CSJ works and your concerns come from a place of knowledge rather than ignorance.
Practically speaking, the goal of these trainings is to get some of your organization to realize they are “racist,” in Critical Social Justice terms, and learn how to limit their “racism” while priming the rest of the organization not to be able to respond. That is, it aims to make a few Critical Social Justice Theorists and a lot of people who know better than to disagree. The people it converts will become the agents of “change” in your office, which is to say activists and agitators. The majority of the rest of the people will be disempowered against fighting back, and some dissenters will become examples to be held up and shamed, re-educated, or fired, so the brakes will effectively be removed from the activism once it gets rolling. You will need to psychologically prepare yourself not to let this be you while helping your organization’s leadership realize the exposure they’re creating by bringing it into the organizational culture and community. There is now sufficient evidence in the world that we do not exaggerate in making these claims. This is how the Critical Social Justice model operates, and it does not care who or what it damages in the quest to get its way and make everything centered on doing Critical Theory, not productivity (which it also explicitly labels as a form of “white supremacy”).
It bears mentioning briefly here that most cohesive organizational environments can withstand accusations of “complicity” in racism from the outside so long as the inside of the organization stays relatively unified. It’s when pressure from the inside starts to match the pressure from the outside that organizations are forced to fold. Thus, from a strategic point of view, these sorts of trainings are meant to create enough voices on the inside that are sympathetic to outside pressure to crack the organization whenever it arises. As dialogue with open-minded leaders in the organization proceeds, it is important to communicate this risk to them, because it will cost the organization dearly (especially in leadership jobs) not to prepare for and minimize any possibility of this risk, perhaps by carefully monitoring human resources departments, being slow to adopt these training protocols, and being unreceptive to employees who attempt to sow internal division using the Critical Social Justice concept of the world from within while remaining consistently intolerant of any genuine racism. This, of course, requires accepting that genuine racism exists (it does) and can be distinguished from claims of racism that arise from overtly cynical or mind-reading interpretations of mundane events, especially those that begin with the assumption that “racism” must always be present in all cross-racial interactions (it can).
Unless you work in a university, there is a strong possibility that your employer will not understand as much about Critical Social Justice ideas as you do. The training will likely have been presented to him or her by slick consultants as a perfectly standard current practice that will look good to have done. It will be delivered also with a claim to urgency to do something, and as the huckster always knows—this is something. By showing the relevant people in your organization that you are very familiar with it and asking questions or making comments that s/he might not be able to answer without consulting the internet, you can sow the seeds of concern that this might be something a bit different that s/he should perhaps look into. It is crucial to expose the illusion that only these slick consultants know what they’re talking about and that their sophisticated definitions and Theory are too little-understood to challenge effectively.
Therefore, when describing your concerns, use the CSJ language and know what it means.
Anti-racism: A simplistic belief in a system of power and privilege distributed unequally by race, often accompanied by the belief that all white people are socialized into racism and have to actively work against it. It carries with it an expectation to dedicate time and resources to this project in every domain of life and situation in an “ongoing process” that requires social activism and explicitly explains that “no one is ever done.”
Whiteness: The name given to a system that is believed to exist and ascribe value (as a form of sociocultural “property”) to white people on all kinds of social levels by virtue of our culture allegedly being “white,” “white dominant,” and even “white supremacist” by its very nature. (You will notice already that understanding any of these terms requires understanding others, but this is less of a problem that it seems because the Theory is, in fact, quite shallow for all of this superficial flash-and-trash.)
(White) privilege: Being the de facto beneficiary of a system of power (the system of “whiteness” in the case of white privilege).
White fragility: The belief that white people cannot bear to be confronted with their own racism, because their privilege has made them morally and emotionally soft, and so resist learning about it to protect their own sense of themselves as good people.
Diversity: Having people with lots of different identity factors who all believe in Critical Social Justice ideas; a diversity of Critical Social Justice “positionalities” but not modes of thinking. Diversity means having many different Critical Social Justice Theory “positionalities” involved and no non-CSJ Theory perspectives at all.
Equity: Trying to even up the perceived imbalance in the playing field by discriminating for groups seen as oppressed and/or historically oppressed and against groups seen as privileged and/or historically privileged. That is, it’s something like Affirmative Action. Equity is measured only by looking at superficial outcomes without any rigorous analysis of potential causes for those disparities (including the sizes of applicant pools, personal choices, etc.).
Inclusion: The willful and vigorous exclusion of any ideas that challenge Critical Social Justice because disagreement would be uncomfortable, therefore “harmful” and “marginalizing.” (One will notice that this understanding of “inclusion” renders their accusations of “willful ignorance” an act of projection.)
Social Justice: A catch-all term for beliefs described as above; justice for socially constructed group identities, not real individuals in any identity category. (In practice, this works out to mean “personal advantage for the activists pushing the ‘Social Justice’ agenda at everyone else’s loss.)
As a means of summarizing the content underlying these views, the belief system of Critical Social Justice generally looks very much like this:
- Society is structured by systems of power that maintain privilege for some groups and marginalization for others.
- People are positioned within these systems by their identity—gender, race, sex, sexuality, etc., and these positions all have different relationships to power. This is known as “positionality.”
- These power systems are upheld and perpetuated by ways of talking about things, called discourses. That is, the ways we consider it legitimate to talk about issues, circumstances, and reality automatically create and uphold systems of oppressive power, particularly where claims to knowledge and truth are involved.
- The powerful get to dictate these discourses by deciding which ones are legitimized as knowledge and as morally good. These are then maintained by everybody on all levels of society.
- Therefore, there is no objective knowledge or objectively better morality, just those which have power and those which do not. (Yes, this is really the same message that Voldemort proceeds from in Harry Potter.)
- Therefore, there is a moral imperative to foreground “knowledges,” “(lived) realities,” and “moralities” that have been marginalized previously and to relegate existing concepts of knowledge production, like science and reason, to a back seat.
- Speech, as the tool by which these systems of power are maintained, must be scrutinized for which discourses of power it is upholding. Speech is therefore dangerous. It can be described as “violence” or as having the power to “erase” marginalized people. Freedom of speech can thus be understood as a “dogwhistle” for wishing to continue perpetuating bigotries of various kinds. That is, Critical Social Justice Theory can be summarized as “discourse theory,” and the worldview proceeds upon a “metaphysics of discourses” that sees discourses as both wholly political entities and as constitutive of our interpretations of reality (so, reality is the politics it is interpreted through).
- Due to the socially constructed and “positional” nature of knowledge and morality, liberal notions of individuality and humanism (shared humanity and universal human rights, freedom, and dignity) are largely understood as privileged beliefs that can only be held by those for whom society is already set up—straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied men—and that thus oppress everyone else. This implies a moral imperative to flip these over and replace them with the ones that suit the activists, who are unjustly conflated with the groups they falsely claim to represent.
Turning to a few specific issues in turn, we can add some more layers of nuance and understanding. Here, we hope to offer some very concrete, actionable advice for crafting your letters and having your conversations.
For concerns about language policing and censorship, i.e., the forbidding or problematization of certain words that go beyond what is professional and non-discriminatory:
Try to avoid saying: “Language policing” or “Political correctness.”
Do say: “Discourse analysis” or just “Discourses.”
Example: I understand the principles of discourse analysis and how the use of certain discourses can create a hostile environment, but I am concerned that <proposed plan> is an excessive focus on language that could cause tensions and hinder communication, creativity, and trust. It arises from a philosophical school called “discourse theory” that is not well-grounded in fact and that seeks to unearth hidden injustices in language, which it assumes from the outset must be there somewhere.
For concerns about being told you are racist or sexist or transphobic just because you are white, male or consider sex to be a biological category:
Try to avoid saying something like: “It’s racist to accuse me of being inherently racist because of the color of my skin.”
Instead say something like “I am concerned that principles of non-discrimination will no longer be upheld consistently but, instead, in accordance with a Critical Social Justice concept of systems of power and privilege, which explicitly says that upholding them consistently is an injustice. I do not share that concept, and my commitment to anti-racism/whatever is a universalist one.”
For concerns about the whole mess generally:
Avoid inflammatory terms like “Social Justice Warrior” or “Cultural Marxism.” These are immediately (and correctly) associated with an online anti-Social Justice activism tribe, and “normies” like your boss are unlikely to recognize them in what is being proposed. People who do will cast you into a “political” camp and lower their trust in the points you are raising.
Instead say something like: “I understand the concepts of power, knowledge, and language in this approach to anti-racism, and I even think they have some worth embedded in them. For example, we could all listen more fully to one another. However, my studies of theorists like DiAngelo, Kendi, and Saad, and also criticisms of them by other kinds of anti-racist scholars, have led me to believe they are far too simplistic and also unfalsifiable. They are based on a concept of ‘implicit bias,’ which has been largely discredited, and theoretical concepts about power that are not well-evidenced. Their approach generalizes about whole demographics with little room for nuance, almost no class analysis, or and little recognition of individual agency. I absolutely defend the right of any of my colleagues to subscribe to these ideas, but I, myself, do not. I hope this training will be inclusive of a variety of worldviews.”
Hopefully, these specifics give you some idea of the flavor of language that is having success at pushing back on these ideas in an effective way.
Second, Make Clear Your Moral High Ground
While doing this, it is necessary that you also signal that you fully support racial, gender, or LGBT equality. You are coming from a place of consistent egalitarian principles, not bigotry.
The kind of ideological training being so widely and hastily adopted works on the assumption that Critical Social Justice methods hold the absolute truth and any disagreement with them is just evidence of people being “fragile” or wanting to protect their privilege. Nevertheless, there are many other epistemological (knowledge) and ethical frameworks from which to oppose racism, sexism, and homophobia, including liberalism, humanism, socialism, libertarianism, and various religious frameworks which believe that all humans are the perfect creation of God. (Note: You don’t have to subscribe to any one of these in particular to realize that they exist and can be applied to the problem.) Therefore, it is important to show that you hold a firm commitment to non-discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, and sexuality and disagree with the specific beliefs and methods of Critical Social Justice. Further, you understand that this is your right as the citizen of a country that defends freedom of belief. There are many ways to address these problems, and this kind of ideological training is attempting to establish itself as the only possibility. This, once exposed, reliably diminishes confidence in it for both of the obvious reasons: there exist others, and they’re not willing to entertain them.
Again, unless you work in a university (and maybe even then), you might well have a better understanding of what the beliefs and methods of Critical Social Justice and its alternatives are than your employer does, and you can take this opportunity to detail what they are. You can then ask your employer if they really intend to compel you and many of their employees to pretend to believe things that you do not believe to be either true or ethical. It is probably better not to ask this directly and combatively but to raise them as requests for reassurance which you are confident your employer will provide. That said, slipping in the legally concerning phrases “compelled speech,” “hostile working environment,” and “list-making” might get their attention, as these will indicate potential legal exposure due to decisions being made in haste and without proper consideration of the ramifications.
For example, you might say that you feel like you are concerned that the current statement-making, pledging, and so on (inside and outside of these trainings) gives you pause such that even if you agree, you feel compelled to say you agree. “How will people who disagree or who have a different idea about these issues be treated here in the future?” Or, “I know you said the training is optional, but won’t everyone know who didn’t participate? How is that right going to be maintained and prevent creating a hostile working environment for conscientious objectors?”
Similar statements are possible to make about donation-matching, for instance in which you indicate that while you might support the idea of giving to these organizations yourself, you feel a bit of pause in the present moment with everything going on that it creates a de facto list of who in the organization has donated and who has not, and how much. “Even if you say you’re not compiling a list, none of us can know that, and it could change later and be compiled from company records, and it can make us uncomfortable, especially in the present environment.” It’s probable that in many jurisdictions, these things create real legal exposure, and your company’s legal team will be aware enough of their liability just to hear the words being thrown around in a measured and non-aggressive fashion to think twice.
The questions you will be able to ask will depend on what the training, circumstance, or (especially) new policy is about. If it is explicitly about support for the Black Lives Matter movement, you can quite reasonably ask questions like, “Do you really intend to help dismantle capitalism and, if so, what will this mean for the structure of the company and my salary?” and “Is the abolition of the police force something the company will be working for and how? Is that in the best interests of our company, investors, employees, and customers? Will I have to make deliveries of company materials into communities without police to protect me from theft and carjacking? What is the company doing to protect me in that role, if so?” and “Will the company now be opposing the existence of nuclear families, and what will this mean for parental leave or my pension?”
These sorts of questions will be likely to result in responses indicating that the company doesn’t actually support those radical aims, but they do believe that black lives matter. With this, you will certainly be able to agree, and you could leave it there or ask for more details on what changes this will involve: i.e., “In what way did the company fail to recognize that black lives mattered before? What practical steps are we really taking, if not the ones advocated by the consultants and their programs?”
However, more commonly, you will hear more generic ideas about “anti-racism,” “white privilege,” and “unconscious bias.” This is because Critical Social Justice doesn’t actually know the details of anything it proposes and is, in fact, just a superficial method of critique, not a functional program that can build leadership, competence, or anything practical. This could be pointed out to your employer as well, once the initial ice has been broken. The work of Robin DiAngelo is exemplary for this. Then you can ask questions like “Will this training insist that people’s ideas and perceptions are determined by their skin color, sex, or gender identity?”, “Does it allow for the possibility of individual agency to reject or uphold racism?”, “Will it accommodate a variety of different anti-racist worldviews?”, and “Where is its information coming from? Empirical studies and reputable scholars or theoretical concepts rooted in postmodern concepts of dominant discourses?” It is, by the way, very helpful to have with you a number of quotations from these Theorists and their books directly, which can be quickly compiled by looking for lists of their quotes on sites like Goodreads, which compiles them at great length.
An Example Letter
To help you in writing a letter to your employer about these concerns, below we provide an example of a first communication that you could send, based on our experience in what has worked in the cases we have consulted upon so far. Your initial letter could go something like this:
I have received your email informing us all of the <insert title of diversity, equity, and inclusion training meeting>. I hold strong principles in opposition to discrimination against anybody because of their class, race, sex, gender identity, sexuality, religion, physical ability, or weight. I recognize that we live in a society where not everybody has equal access to all opportunities and where racism and prejudice still exist and disproportionately affects racial and other minorities. I support all aims to ensure that <name of company> and all its employees commit to opposing racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of bigotry.
I would, however, like to know more about the theoretical underpinnings of the training you propose. There are some serious concerns about the rigor and ethics of some theoretical approaches to anti-racism, which rely upon a very specific belief-system that is not universally shared by those who care about racism, sexism, or homophobia. That belief system is often referred to as “Critical Race Theory,” “Intersectionality,” or simply as “(Critical) Social Justice.” This approach is one I’ve studied to some degree. It works on discourse theory as theorized by the French postmodernist Michel Foucault, ideas of radical (not liberal) identity politics, and “implicit bias tests” that have failed to replicate and are consequently discredited among reputable social scientists.
I would appreciate your assurance that the training you propose will be, firstly, rigorous. That is, the training will be based on empirical studies that have held up well to attempts to replicate findings, rather than abstract theoretical concepts like “whiteness” or “white fragility” that are unfalsifiable and consequently, not well-regarded by serious social scientists. I fear it is not in our company’s best interest to devote resources to something that may not work or that may even backfire.
Secondly, I hope you will be able to assure me that the training will be consistently principled in its opposition to prejudiced assumptions about whole demographics. I regret having to ask this, but unfortunately there have been numerous accounts of diversity training in which prejudiced assumptions have been made about the attitudes of white people, Jews, Asians, and men simply because of the color of their skin, their religious background or their sex. Wouldn’t such a thing create a hostile working environment for those individuals in our organization? And what steps would we be taking to avoid the same kinds of backfires and pitfalls that seem to be emerging quite rapidly as many other companies start taking these approaches on?
Thirdly, I would be grateful if you could reassure me that this training will be inclusive of the full variety of ideological, religious, and philosophical beliefs and values to be found among the employees of <name of company>. There are, of course, a number of belief systems and ethical frameworks from which prejudice and discrimination can be consistently opposed, while the framework often known as “Critical Social Justice” or “Critical Race Theory” works purely on a concept of knowledge as a construct of power as perpetuated by language and a need to overturn hierarchical binaries of power and privilege as a matter of principle. This belief cannot be affirmed by those who hold liberal views of individual agency, conservative views of individual responsibility or many religious worldviews which reject this level of cultural constructionism. Having studied the Critical Social Justice approach, I also understand that it can be difficult or impossible to disagree with because its claims are subjective and interpretive in nature, and because it explicitly casts disagreement as part of the problem it wants to address: systemic power dynamics that benefit a few over everyone else.
I worry especially that in the present moment, the urge to do something about the issues of race, racism, and other problems related to identity are causing many organizations to make hasty decisions that may not serve <company name>’s mission, vision, or best interests, while possibly leaving it exposed to a variety of unintended consequences. These could include hostile working environments, reduced productivity and creativity (thus threats against market share by more focused competitors), a tensely politicized office environment, and even possible legal exposure, depending on the policies and practices taken up. There are many ways to approach issues of diversity and anti-racism, not just the one being widely offered right now, and I fear a widespread lack of prudence in the heat of this moment can, in the long run, do more harm than good.
I appreciate your attention to this matter and reaffirm my commitment to working for a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere at <name of company>. Should it be needed, I’m happy to volunteer to participate in or lead a task force that seeks the best way for our organization to navigate these tricky issues in this difficult time. I believe it’s possible and in the best interest of the company to weigh our options carefully and proceed in an informed, prudent fashion.
If you ensure that you make these two points very clearly, you will present yourself as a knowledgeable and principled person whose objections cannot easily be dismissed by an employer, unless they are prepared to say that you are required to believe in a very specific form of theoretical “anti-racism.” It is likely that most employers will draw back from stating this explicitly, and, if any do, then you could have grounds for legal action. (Be ready to start thinking of yourself as a potential plantiff or as someone whose talents are better served helping a competitor, perhaps of your own creation, outcompete Woke, Inc.)
As indicated at the end of the example letter, you might also add that you are, yourself, ready and willing to take up the responsibility of working on or heading a committee for figuring these problems out, including taking up the search for effective alternatives. This serves multiple important purposes. Firstly, it demonstrates your commitment to the issue and willingness to take appropriate action. Secondly, it enables you to get into the position the activists pushing these trainings covet most for themselves—administrative roles related to the relevant issues. Thirdly, it enables you to use that position to help direct the course of decision-making and implementation, which will fall to activists if the role isn’t already filled. Obviously, no one wants to volunteer for more work of this sort… except activists.
This approach, taken with the proper tone of wanting to help your company succeed, can work. It has worked, at least preliminarily, already in some examples, even as the moral panic around issues of identity was at a higher, more alarming pitch, and it can work again, especially as the Critical Social Justice-related problems start piling up and making themselves obvious in more and more workplaces. The key is to make sure to present yourself as being a knowledgeable, principled person who wants the best for the organization and the broader society in which the organization exists. From that position, you can claim the moral and intellectual high ground and lead your organization forward in a productive direction instead of into the mire of constant institutionalized identity politics.