Diversity Training, Is It a Waste of Money?

Diversity Training, Is It A Waste of Money | Sedruola Maruska

If you’re planning to spend money on diversity training, WAIT!

If you haven’t done any foundation building, you may be wasting your money. If diversity and inclusion aren’t an integral part of your business strategy, you won’t get much for your money by holding one or two day training workshops. Don’t make the same mistake that many businesses, in all industries make.

If you want to leverage the diversity you already enjoy, increase diversity in your business, or prevent cultural misunderstandings, you’ll need to create a culture that’s inclusive at all levels, in every system, and in all processes.

Without having diversity and inclusion baked into your culture, you’ll get people trained by a great trainer, with a great program, but when they leave your organization they take what they learned with them (if they still remember it) and your organization stays the same.

Plus, reaching those people who resist diversity efforts isn’t likely only with training. It’ll take a more multi-faceted approach to help those individuals see the value of diversity in the organization and to bring more people on board to the initiative.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Antiracist community

Steps Toward Diversity Training

Here are some steps you can take to create an inclusive business / company:

Start at the top. The CEO and other executive team members must be fully on board and leading the charge. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, leadership of the initiative or changing the culture cannot be delegated. Others can help drive change, but it must be seen as coming from the top. That means it needs to be included in conversations, discussions, newsletters and e-mails.

Figure out what your company strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement and employee satisfaction ratings are as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion by running surveys, focus groups and interviews.

Diversity Training, Is It A Waste of Money | Sedruola Maruska

Once the assessments are done, create a vision and strategy that members of the executive leadership team have agreed is the best course of action.

Engage senior management so they can help lead the change. They need to be part of the vision and have a clear understanding of concepts, roles, business case and benefits.

Create a communication and information sharing process to share the vision throughout the company. Send messages that will create middle manager and employee buy-in to the new culture. Help everyone understand how the diversity, equity and inclusion culture change will benefit each employee personally, professionally and organizationally. That’ll require internal marketing at all levels.

Educate to Elevate Racial Sensitivity Workshop

Remember the surveys? Use their results to tackle specific areas for improvement, the most common being; recruitment, interviewing, hiring, retention, promotion and performance evaluation. Look at your present company culture, and find ways where as a company you can create a more inclusive environment.

Define skills and behaviors that managers need to have to make the culture change successful and to successfully lead a diverse workforce.

Once you’ve put those initiatives into motion, now you can conduct training for all levels of your organization in areas related to diversity and inclusion.

Make sure to set up a process for accountability at all levels, that relates progress to compensation and evaluations.

Measure results, create the buzz and make it exciting (if its not fun, it wont be done)

What Does It All Mean?

The amount of time it’ll take, the order and the steps needed depend on your company goals. If you want to go beyond compliance, hear new ideas, learn best practices, reduce cultural misunderstanding and miscommunication, hire and retain the best of the best from everywhere, training alone wont do it.

Before you spend money on diversity training, decide what you want. Do you want your people to have a good day, learn then forget a few bits of information or do you want ongoing change that will make your company one where people are excited to apply to work? The choice is yours.

White Mom’s Guide to “The Talk”


I’m Not Teaching My Children Tolerance, Neither Should You

I'm Not Teaching My Children Tolerance, Neither Should You | Sedruola Maruska

Tolerance, really? This post holds a bit of harsh language. . . You’ve been warned. 🙂

I’m a woman of Haitian decent. Actually, a first generation Haitian-American. In Creole the word tolerance is not ever spoken in nice tones. It’s usually delivered with disdain and harshness. Which is why it always baffles me when organizations and people here in America speak of “tolerance” as a thing to teach.

Tolerance, for me, is not what I think to teach my children when it comes to other people.

Thinking I might be misunderstanding the word I decided to look up tolerance in the Merriam-Webster dictionary online. I teach my son (and soon my daughter) to look up words, so that was my default. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just tainted by the connotation ‘tolerance’ held in Creole vs. English.

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I'm Not Teaching My Children Tolerance, Neither Should You | Sedruola Maruska

The Definition

Imagine my shock when I read the first definition listed:

“capacity to endure pain or hardship”

I was right! My education did not fail me (in that regard) and when put in context in Creole, that’s exactly what it means. It’s a feeling of being able or unable to ENDURE pain or hardship presented . . .

“sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own”

Sympathy? Indulgence? Still not things that invoke hearts or rainbows . . . Let’s continue

“the act of allowing something.”

*Sigh*

Wait, what? So basically “I will allow you to be black” or “I will allow you to be Jewish” or “I will allow you to be gay”? The final set of definitions is what threw me over the top…

“the capacity of the body to endure or become less responsive to a substance (such as a drug) or a physiological insult especially with repeated use or exposure developed a tolerance to painkillersalso :  the immunological state marked by unresponsiveness to a specific antigen (2) :  relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor”

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Synonyms

Why the Fuck (excuse me while I put on my elitist cap) would I want to teach my children to look at people as “things to be endured” or “hardships to indulge”? We’re teaching “tolerance”?

I am, they are, we are all human beings,  no one wants to simply be “tolerated”! I don’t want you in my space looking at me as something to “endure”! If you find my mere presence offensive then get the fuck out of my space. Do not put us in a position where you’re “enduring” a “sustained” trauma and I’m thinking we’re communicating.

Still not fully convinced? Well, neither was I, although I was getting there quickly, so I looked up words that may be similar in meaning, you know synonyms:

forbearance, long-suffering, sufferance, patience

Then related words:

acquiescence, resignation; passiveness, passivity; amenability, compliance, conformism, docility, obedience, subordination, tractability, willingness; discipline, self-control; submission, submissiveness

Correct me if I’m wrong but there’s a pattern here. All these words imply that those who are “tolerant” are in a state of great discomfort and in a position to be easily misled.

Teaching people to “tolerate” other people needs to be the teaching of last resort, not the platform! Because, at the very least, we should be tolerant. Tolerance is not the first thing to teach. . . I do not want to simply be tolerated.

An Examination

Have you ever been on a diet where you had to endure eating in a way that made you feel deprived? Did you stick with that diet or did you rebel and look for something new? That’s what I thought.

When forced to stay in a state of discomfort, say like chronic pain, people don’t learn what they need to grow, they simply learn to endure. That is tolerance. How can I, in good conscience, teach my children to endure other people? That will in turn teach them they are powerless and must endure the unfavorable situation when someone else is simply enduring their presence. I do not stay in the presence of those I think are merely enduring my presence.

“Mommy, can I change my color?”

It seems to me, this tolerance thing is blowing up in our faces right now. Alt-right, white supremacists are running rampant in our streets when for years many allowed themselves to think they were a thing of the past. What they were doing was “tolerating” us (blacks, Jews, gays, other). They’ve been uncomfortable for too long. In that discomfort they were made “submissive”, “passive” and are now fighting for a state of comfort.

Groups of people that have been taught to “tolerate” and others that have been “tolerated”, all living in a sustained state of discomfort are pushing back. No human wants or should stay in a state of sustained discomfort.

The Alternative

No, I’m not going to teach my children to tolerate people. Nor am I going to teach them to endure being tolerated. I’m teaching my children to be curious and open to other ways of life. I’m teaching them the richness of  experiencing and indulging in theirs and other cultures, immersing themselves in the beauty that is diversity. I’m teaching them to love.

When we’re open we gain insight and information about people and situations we don’t understand. Staying open means having sincere conversations and asking questions that bring information that’s otherwise a mystery. My children are learning that if they don’t like someone, they don’t have to be tolerant of that person. They walk away. They’re also learning that liking someone is never based on the way a person looks, worships or loves. Liking someone is based on who they are. There are people of all races, creeds, religions etc. who are assholes. We don’t have to tolerate that shit.

In turn, I’m not here to simply be tolerated.

Tolerance is the teaching of last resort.

Tolerance is the act of last resort.

So, if you haven’t talked to me, been open to me and learned anything about me because of the color of my skin, I DO expect you to tolerate me. Because I’m here, I’m not going anywhere and it’s your choice to stay in your ignorant state of stress.

What’s blowing up right now is a whole lot of tolerance gone awry. We take the teaching of last resort,  make it the best option and now people are done tolerating. We’re not teaching sensitivity to culture, because we’re afraid to teach culture. We’re not teaching an understanding of people, because we’re afraid to teach history properly. Kids aren’t learning  love, they’re learning to “get along” and to “tolerate”.

Teaching anyone to simply tolerate things that can never change will never end well.

Antonyms

The one antonym:

Impatience

The near antonyms, those words that are close to the opposite of tolerance:

defiance; contrariness, disobedience  insubordination, intractability, recalcitrance, resistance, willfulness

Sound familiar?

When tolerance is no longer sustainable you’ll get the opposite.

Take Away

Teach history, culture, inclusion, sensitivity and love. Then, if by some horrible twist, those things don’t work, teach tolerance. But please, take it from someone who is of a “tolerated” class, don’t teach tolerance first. If tolerance is the only lesson that sticks, then impatience is not too far behind