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Culture War Roundup for the week of October 10, 2022

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I’m taking a diversity training today which opened with the following:

It’s diversity and inclusion, not diversity and isolation, yet the sad fact is that despite our best intentions, many of us feel excluded and alone at work.

A study conducted by behavioral scientists Carr and Reece found that a whopping 40% of us feel that sense of isolation on the job.

That means that despite the nearly $8B businesses typically spend each year on D&I training, nearly half of the employees still don’t feel like they belong.

Obviously, the architects of this particular training didn’t decide to “spend less on candles.” Nor did they pivot into a deep discussion of training efficacy and reform, which I would have found fascinating, but isn’t remotely relevant to my job. The rest of the training segment, instead, fumbles towards the idea that cultivating Belonging is the real goal.

A focus on diversity can only go so far if the next step is assimilation or exclusion.

Out of curiosity, I tried to track down the initial study. Carr and Reece wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review which included the 40% claim, citing a separate HBR article written by an Ernst & Young executive. In turn, that one pointed to an E&Y press release. Supposedly, there was a “Belonging Barometer” survey of 1,000 adults. The trail ends with a link-rotted press release and no sign of any peer review or data.

This doesn’t stop stop the training from embedding an E&Y video and otherwise parroting points from the articles. It concludes with a quiz and a cutesy certificate. If I go make fun of it with my coworkers over drinks, we can bond. Perhaps the company would consider its slice of that $8 billion to be well spent.

The rest of the training segment, instead, fumbles towards the idea that cultivating Belonging is the real goal.

The term belonging has a specific meaning in critical studies, there is a good writeup on James Lindsay's encyclopedia. So this concept basically takes inclusion even further, you are not only required not to do bad stuff like microaggressions that can exclude marginalized categories, you also have to participate on all DEI activities proactively and enthusiastically, otherwise you are excluding. I feel sorry for you.

In the broader sense I like how Lindsay described DIE initiatives. Diversity really means experts on diversity. It does not necessarily mean to have people of different colors and genders and sexualities, it means having all those people but above all else they must adhere to Social Justice movement and ideology, otherwise they do not count - they "ain't black". So diversity means employing ideological commissars. Now the main tool of these commissars is inclusion. The agenda is to exclude all thoughts and ideologies opposing Social Justice, marking them as violence that creates unsafe space and so forth supposedly producing exclusion. Inclusion really is censorship. And equity is of course the age old left doctrine: you have to build commissariat that administratively redistributes resources, positions, social status, promotions and so forth from those who were identified by commissars as oppressors to those who are in line with what commissars want and who are thus oppressed or allies. And of course it goes without saying that given that commissars have a very important and tough job ahead of them, they have to get some resources as well. Equity is just expanded concept of socialism.

Even though DEI may sound good and for sure many people genuine believe in it, it is exceedingly prone and one can even say designed to incentivize grift as well as reproduction: it saps company resources aimed at making their products or services in order to spread Social Justice inside and outside of the company.

Your post, especially in lines like

Equity is just expanded concept of socialism.

reads as a chain of assertions that all these different ideas you are opposed to are really the same or closely related (and so presumably you expect all those who oppose a subset of them to join you in opposing all). You need to justify statements like that, especially since it seems that there are superficially quite obvious counterexamples (type specimens of socialism are concerned with the socioeconomically disadvantaged, whereas US equity ideology fairly reliably favours the rich and urbane over the poor and boorish).

I use the term socialism in the meaning that it is supposed to be administrative phase where the ideals are enforced onto the population by vanguard socialist forces. The idea is that once the population internalizes all the socialist values, the final phase will be for the socialist vanguard to abolish themselves and true communist utopia is achieved.

This is the same logic. You will have DEI experts and CSR positions imposing Social Justice values upon the people administratively, but this is supposed to only exist until the true Social Justice is achieved voluntarily and automatically, until everybody internalizes critical consciousness and the system can be maintained from within so to speak. This aim goes in line with the overall acceptance that reality is socially constructed, if you do enough activism to change the people to accept certain values, it will in turn make people build better and more Socially Just society and reality. For instance the old classical Marxists-Leninists believed that [social]reality is constructed by mode of production and abolishing private property by socialist forces will change the material conditions of proletariat which will in turn lead to communism if carefully guided by The Party of course. Different concept in some sense, but one which share certain logic.

Also I used the terms like commissars, censorship and socialism known for more than 100 years as an analogy for Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officers, Inclusion and Equity. As with all analogies it is not the same, but it shares some significant internal logic which I briefly explained. That is my assertion.

EDIT: I can also to use another example of Department of Anti-racism as proposed by Ibram X. Kendi. It should be "comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees" - which means no political control over "experts on racism" or in my parlance anti-racist commissars. This body should have no other authority, they just want to:

The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.

This would literally mean constitutionally enshrining leading position of unelected anti-racist commissars over all public and private policy and personal governmental decisions in USA. For me it is preposterous that anybody even considers Kendi as anything but utmost danger to democracy.