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Dealing With the Diversity Backlash

No matter how hard an organization tries, their diversity initiatives can be met with backlash. I found this excerpt in an article I was reading earlier today.

The Google memo from last year was an example of how some people can react badly to diversity initiatives. Its author complained that the company had become an “ideological echo chamber” due to its attempts to promote diversity.

Although there are serious problems with the scientific claims in the memo, it represents a resistance to diversity efforts that’s quite widespread. As noted in recent tutorial on diversity and inclusion training, research has shown that much of the training fails because of its negative messaging, which makes many people respond with “anger and resistance.”

How do you overcome this? My training tutorial gives some tips—here’s a summary:

  • Explain the purpose and business benefits of diversity.
  • Provide a mix of raising awareness and teaching concrete skills.
  • Frame it in a positive way, as a voluntary opportunity to learn new skills, rather than a punitive exercise.
  • Encourage mentoring.
  • Include training on all of the different dimensions of diversity.

Read the full tutorial for more detail:



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