Sorry, but My Pessimism Is Stronger Than Your Diversity Training

If you want to imagine a world without racism, it’s gonna take much more than a kumbaya soundbite

Scott Woods


Photo: Ivan Pantic/Getty Images

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My job has a weekly meeting about diversity, equity, and inclusion, in that order. DEI, that now-mainstream acronym adored by corporations and organizations everywhere since last year’s racial-awareness uprising, are what “diversity trainings” used to be. You remember those. Once a year or so, you’d spend a few hours listening to someone talk about bias, suffer through an awkward role-playing exercise, sign a form in which you pledge to be demonstrably less problematic, and then go back to work and wait for a softer, gentler workplace culture to kick in.

This portion of the meeting didn’t always exist. Last year’s protests did that, particularly the ones where downtown businesses — almost all of whom were White and multimillion-dollar outfits — had their windows kicked in for a couple of days. Say what you will about protests, but property damage gets things done. Well, it gets things to the table. Getting things acted upon is a whole different menu item.