If employers, college presidents, government administrators, military commanders, and other institutional and organizational officials want to conduct diversity training, including diversity training rooted in Critical Race Theory and other aspects of Critical Social Justice Theory, that’s their business. We live in a free country (for now), and as such, they should be free to choose the kind of training that they want to subject their employees and members to—at least so long as they’re not doing so on a publicly accountable dime or engaging in illegal acts like discrimination (best of luck implementing Critical Race Theory or Critical Social Justice without discriminating, but anyway). My stance on Critical Social Justice and its specific Theories has always been the same: like any ideology or system of faith, people are welcome to implement it if they want, within the usual limits, but they should know what they’re getting into if they choose to do so. I don’t think these Theories or the “diversity” training that’s based upon them represent themselves honestly, so here’s a brief warning to those who wish to implement it, to let them know what they’re getting into and can step off into the abyss with their eyes open, rather than going in blind.
My contention is that it is irresponsible to the point of negligence for an organization or institution to adopt an environment that uses “diversity” training rooted in Critical Social Justice Theories like Critical Race Theory. Even if this claim is too strong, I would like for people in such a position to consider the circumstances they’re creating in terms of realistic risk assessment. People do not understand the risk they’re taking with this particular approach to the issue of diversity, and they need to.
As a sort of preamble, I’ll note that I have now covered the difference between “diversity,” as it is understood under the various Theories of Critical Social Justice (including Critical Race Theory) and diversity, as in the real thing that word usually represents, repeatedly. Here, I explain the contextually relevant use of the term “diversity” in encyclopedic style. Here, I wrote about “diversity” training at length. Here, I did a podcast about it. Here, I spoke about it publicly. And here is a resource I published from someone else explaining that there really is a difference between diversity training, which doesn’t use Critical Social Justice Theory, and “diversity” training, which does. Those resources provided, let me explain what you’re signing up for when you decide to ride the scare-quotes Critical Social Justice “diversity” tiger.
“Diversity” training using Critical Race Theory and Critical Social Justice (henceforth: “diversity” training) is designed to create exactly the kinds of divisions and problems in an organization that will generate conflict and hostile working or learning environments. (Expect lawsuits, eventually.) “Diversity” training using these Theories is designed to create the necessary conditions where conflict and a broken organizational culture will be the eventual result, like night follows day. Put more simply, “diversity” training is designed to create conditions for hostility, discomfort, polarization, conflict, and collapse in the institutions that use them. There are many reasons for this that go too far outside of the scope of this warning to articulate, but they can be summarized pretty neatly by pointing out that they increase sensitivity to certain types of issues, mandate taking action upon them, and engage in hostile, zero-sum thinking about them (rooted in what’s known as “conflict theory,” which is not an articulation of how to manage conflict but instead a way of convincing yourself conflict is what’s already happening and needs to be made visible and reversed).
“Diversity” training is designed in such a way that it will have predictable effects on different sorts of people within your organization or institution. Some people in the organization will become or join the activist core that drives for this kind of training and that seeks to make “diversity” activism a central project of the organization, consuming ever more resources. These people will buy in for either genuine or selfish motives and become “diversity” advocates. Not very many people exposed to a dull, unpleasant, unwanted “diversity” training at work will become part of the activist core, of course. What people who want to implement this stuff need to understand is that it only takes a few, maybe even one dedicated activist to do a lot of damage in the right circumstances. That person could well be the person who brought it in to begin with.
Another purpose of “diversity” training is to create people who are more sympathetic to the ideas in the Critical Theories being employed. These people are the good-faith sympathizers and adopters who aren’t wholly on board with everything in the training but think some of it is reasonable. These people tend to fall for the fact that “diversity” training portrays itself as having good intentions and fail to realize it has a divisive design, mostly because the relevant underlying Theory is very good at using nice terms like “diversity” and “anti-racism” to advertise itself. It is also very good at appealing to “harms” and “traumas” of unintended and “unconscious” or “implicit” biases and behaviors (like microaggressions) that the relatively compassionate, conscientious, and self-reflective are moved by. Creating as large a group of this sort as possible is crucial to the strategy of “diversity” training, so most of its energy will go into creating this sort of person in your organization.
Yet another purpose of “diversity” training is to raise awareness among everyone of the terms and thought of the “diversity” mindset. This will prevent those ideas from being so foreign when they inevitably come up later. That is, it seeks to use the “mere exposure effect” to make many of the people in your organization familiar with the terms and style of the “diversity” approach, especially those in the group described above. This will make it so that the “diversity”-peculiar terms, phrasing, and way of thinking will seem fairly standard, in the organizational jargon kind of way, when they become the centerpieces of a wildfire of discussion that will eventually arise anywhere enough “diversity” training has taken place.
A related purpose of “diversity” training is to signal to everyone in the mostly disinterested middle or opposition to “diversity” rooted in these Critical Theories that their views are not the ones empowered within the organization, so they should stay silent. Much of “diversity” training will focus on using the specialized terminology to create a web of rationales that can be used to undermine neutrality and discredit genuine opposition, mostly by accusing those who aren’t participating or who are opposed of various problematic dispositions, behaviors, stances, and attitudes that prevent them from wanting to fully engage with “diversity” and the Theories upon which it is based. People who endure these trainings disinterestedly will be reminded over and over again that there is no neutrality on the relevant “diversity” issues, and that to choose neutrality is to be opposed to “diversity.” Meanwhile, opposition will be signaled as a character flaw like lacking “cultural humility” or possessing “white fragility” or “brown fragility,” or as outright complicity in the “system of oppression” that is the problem “diversity” training is meant to overcome. These signals will be received, and the willingness of the people who disagree to speak up will be chilled, knowing there will be social and perhaps professional consequences.
“Diversity” training also creates an opportunity for particularly outspoken dissidents to be identified, publicly challenged, and possibly removed from the organization before they can disrupt the coming problems. Even the act of publicly challenging dissidents has the effect of strengthening the chilling atmosphere upon the group above, and it will lead more sympathetic groups to actively distrust these individuals and possibly to see them as troublemakers. Even the act of making the annoying “diversity” training session contentious when most participants want it to pass quickly and without incident will predispose many in the organization to have a negative attitude of dissidents and active opponents to “diversity” trainings. It’s important to realize that dissidents to “diversity” training will be identified as generally troublemaking and divisive by the “diversity” training itself. This is also strategically important.
At this point, it can be seen that “diversity” training is not likely to be helping to create the harmonious, diverse working environment its advocates advertise. It is, in fact, (though it will sound hyperbolic to say so) setting the necessary preconditions for an institutional civil war. If you don’t think so, imagine that it has the effects on different groups of participants described above, which are likely after enough “diversity” training has been implemented. A population of agitators will exist, even if small, with a fairly significant band of sympathetic support who will take their side in any conflict that arises. Meanwhile, people who think otherwise will be mostly cowed into silence, and people who might stand up to it have been discredited or removed. Just like a badly managed forest, all such an organization will need is certain conditions and an inopportunely dropped match to ignite a conflagration that management isn’t going to be able to control or put out very easily.
In fact, once enough “diversity” training has been done to accomplish the above goals, it’s only a matter of time. Organizational civil war will follow, again, like night after day. This is because the conditions are set and some trigger is inevitable. The trigger will take the form of some precipitating event, like an accusation of racism in the office or of the management or of the organization as a whole on the systemic level. This is like setting off a gender-reveal firework in the California brush in a “diversity” trained institution. Again, it’s inevitable that such a thing will eventually arise, even if none in the activist core ever manufacture it. Someone will eventually slip and make an inappropriate comment, or a product will be designed that strikes someone the wrong way, or someone will complain either from within the organization or from without, or something. Even in a highly chilled, highly tense, highly careful, or highly harmonious (if that occurs) environment, a mistake or mildly controversial event of the relevant types is inevitable.
If you take it as a probabilistic given (following similar logic to the infinite monkey theorem) that a precipitating event will occur eventually in any organization, as someone taking risk-management seriously should, you can understand why it is so important that the organizational culture is such that it can withstand such an eventuality without falling apart or erupting in internal civil war. Now, imagine you find yourself in the situation described above, which I contend has a high likelihood of being the result of applying enough “diversity” training rooted in the various Critical Theories of Critical Social Justice, like Critical Race Theory. Here’s how things will play out once the precipitating event hits.
The precipitating event will be interpreted by the activist core as proof of systemic problems in the organization because that’s literally what they’re activists in doing. This will establish one pole, branded righteous and “anti-racist.” The sympathizers will generally agree and think the issue is important and tend to take their side, speaking in the terms they became familiar with and half-conversant in during their “diversity” training sessions. The dissidents will oppose it and form a second pole, which will be branded evil (racist, etc.). Furthermore, everyone in the middle who doesn’t take a side immediately will be pressured to do so, ramping up division and polarization. “Silence is violence.” “Silence is complicity.” “There is no neutral.” “Staying neutral is siding with oppression.” So, taking the dissident side is racist, and everyone who does so is racist by extension. Everyone who refuses to take a side automatically sides with the dissidents. Why would people think this? It’s exactly what “diversity” training exists to teach (this is conflict theory in application). Now your organization has the necessary conditions to undergo rapid and profound polarization around a moral issue that is considered virtually non-negotiable.
The internal culture of the institution will crack as it polarizes. Then the institutional “diversity” civil war will begin, “racists” versus “anti-racists,” with both terms representing misleading but morally charged lies. If the internal conflagration gets big enough, or if your organization is important enough, enough attention may be drawn to add in heavy activist pressure (and dissident resistance pressure) from the outside, replicating and amplifying the divisive characteristics of the inside and the stakes of the fight. This is bad for the organization, but that’s not a concern of the “diversity” trainers. Their goal is to produce “diversity,” not functioning organizations. Organizations are merely another means to this end. This point cannot be overstated, and it is very poorly understood. The utility of your organization to “diversity” trainers is not to enhance what your organization does but to leverage its capacity to be divert resources into achieving what it calls “diversity.”
To help you understand this last point in greater detail, “diversity” activists have two goals in mind, and those are both of the most likely outcomes of your organization’s “diversity” civil war. Either the organization folds to their pressure and becomes a “diversity” activist organ that diverts the maximum amount of resources to “diversity,” or it collapses, which will be rationalized as another racist organization dying. Both of these outcomes aren’t just adequate but positive goods to the sort of “diversity” ideology that’s rooted in Critical Theories of Social Justice, so it doesn’t necessarily have a vested interest in other operational goals, like optimizing the organization, meeting its stated mission (unless that’s already “diversity”), or even enabling it to survive in the relevant markets. It’s good to remember here that the Critical Theories at the heart of “diversity” training do not build. They do not even have the capacity to build. This is because Critical Theories are divorced by design from “traditional theories” that seek to know how to do things, like build products instead of activists, provide services, achieve their missions in the world, and make themselves profitable on their own merits. Therefore, conquering organizations for “diversity” or making them collapse for rejecting “diversity” are both winning outcomes for “diversity” activists.
What happens next is the more or less certain financial failure of the organization because either it will break apart and fail (organizational collapse) or it will start diverting a larger and larger percentage of its resources to “diversity” initiatives until it is dysfunctional (and will then collapse if dependent upon the oversaturated and mostly disinterested market to survive). As collapse becomes imminent, there are also two possibilities: both of which are also desirable to the “diversity” activists: collapse of an insufficiently “diverse” entity, as noted previously, or surviving as a “diversity” organ by being propped up by the copious amounts of foundation money doing that. In other words, the fate of essentially any organization that takes on enough “diversity” training puts itself at risk of being completely subverted to the mission of “diversity” (Critical Social Justice) instead of whatever its founding mission was. People who aren’t on board at this stage will not receive the funding necessary to sustain themselves and will be replaced by more compliant executives.
It’s not a bug of “diversity” training that it creates a divisive atmosphere and hostile working or learning environment. That’s what it’s designed to do for the Critical purpose. Best to understand this sooner than later.