I am challenging how diversity education was created from the outset without forethought of equality or inclusion in mind. After Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, race relations discussions within any diversity education class abruptly stopped. Crucial dialogue did not continue and was eliminated which would have significantly improved race relations if it has remained.
Either misguided, deliberate, or regressive thinking curriculum designers substituted race relations conversations with diluted material consisting of sensitivity and cultural awareness training. This “training” targeted whites in general but had a specific focus for white males and their “privilege” and historical discriminatory practices. These educational methods, many times under different guises, remain the”white” elephant in diversity training rooms to this day.
The majority of diversity classes for over 30 years began and still are based on the “us versus them” theme. Regardless of my colleagues’ use of new words, phrases, or en vogue programs, they are working with a fractured foundation. Not a good idea for building a home or for creating cultural respect and appreciation. Using such terms as microaggressions that apparently only whites can act out is a brutal reminder of classes attended before.
Everyone must be included and diversity education must include race relations dialogue in every class or this struggle will still be lost. We only seemed to improve on the surface in our overall respect for each other in spite of a fractured foundation of diversity education, underlying unresolved emotions were not able to be addressed. We witnessed a collective catharsis of these emotions in Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, New York City and the list goes on. In addition, recent polls regarding race relations, reveal not much has changed over a significant amount of time. We are in worse shape since the Civil War with all races having a more negative opinion of current race relations and of each other. Despite hundreds of thousands or more of diversity and sensitivity sessions presented to employees in corporations, educational institutions, businesses, and the federal government., it is evident that removing critical race relations conversations and replacing these conversations with sensitivity and blame just did not get the job done. It is time for me to challenge diversity education and my upcoming book: “America’s Diversity Meltdown – Challenging Diversity Education and Its Epic Failure to Improve Race Relations” will do just that.