With much of the media attention focused on academia and public institutions, we can forget that the divisive and pernicious ideas of critical race theory affect many more people who work in private businesses as well. Here George Crichton, pen name of a DDU supporter, recounts his experience of the mandatory Diversity and Inclusion training introduced by the private company for whom he works:
It isn’t just the public sector, the world of arts or academia that have embraced Critical Race Theory (CRT) and are engaged in social justice warfare. The world of work and professional environments are rife with otherwise rational individuals, whose day-to-day activities can involve complex and specialised areas requiring critical thinking and the application of logic, clambering over themselves and throwing all their faculties out of the window in a desperate rush to showcase their adherence to the “woke” agenda. One of the problems with the sphere of private organisations is that they are by definition…private. Their internal workings tend to stay internal unless they choose to publicise. This means that much less insight is available to those on the outside, as those on the inside understandably protect themselves by not whistleblowing too loudly, if at all.
When one’s family, home and ability to feed themselves are intimately bound up in maintaining one’s employment, it usually makes perfect sense to desist from “rocking the boat” and standing out from the crowd, especially when the subject at hand is “anti-racism” and the current sacred cow of diversity and inclusion. There is, after all, enough trouble being caused by dissidents elsewhere, and one calls to mind James Damore, Nick Buckley and Will Knowland (among others) who all faced retribution from their employers for daring to go against the prevailing orthodoxy. I personally know of others who have faced the consequences of speaking out at work.
In the aftermath of events in the United States last summer, companies wasted no time in declaring their opposition to racism. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but I have often wondered what those events, specific to America’s historical and social contexts, had to do with private companies in Britain in the first place. In any case, many of those companies went further – declaring their obedience to CRT principles and extolling the virtues of implicit bias tests, while denouncing the scourge of the ever-unfalsifiable yet remarkably ever-present white privilege. These pronouncements are now making their way into policies and training materials as companies seek to drive home the message that Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), as interpreted through a critical social justice lens, is the one with which all employees will henceforth be expected to comply. Mandatory training on D & I has now been rolled out across the company I work for and it is as contradictory and baffling as it is laughable.
Among the precipitous use of so many newspeak buzzwords, I am faced with trying to decode the meanings of “belonging”, “equity”, “inclusion” and “liberation”) in a self-guided online training session lasting 45 minutes. There are calls for employees to identify their “privilege”, with guidance provided that if you are (shock, horror) a straight white male, you have the most privilege available. Unsurprisingly, the training claims that privilege is intersectional, another CRT import. The inference being that if you’re not straight, white or male you are less privileged. So instructions to examine your identity for markers of privilege are also invitations to identify those aspects of yourself that make you “less than”. There may be more sessions, and I expect these will be an annual feature, possibly tied to annual reviews and bonuses.
I happen to be gay but in no way do I consider myself at some sort of disadvantage to a heterosexual. I certainly do not consider heterosexuals to be privileged compared to me. My sexuality is a tiny aspect of my identity I rarely think about and it has never held me back from the life I want to live and certainly not at work. In effect, I am being told that I have to consent to beliefs about the world and people that I do not, in fact, believe. Hasn’t freedom of belief played an important part in the development of democratic societies?
I doubt most companies know what CRT is, let alone how its tenets have influenced other areas of critical social justice (such that ideas like white privilege have now evolved into privilege more generally, and are applied to sexuality, gender and even whether you had a happy and safe childhood). As elsewhere though, these notions of privilege are not backed up in the training by any sort of empirical or scientific study. They’ve simply been plucked straight out of the CRT Handbook and presented to us as incontrovertible truths. My company’s training appears to be cognisant, at least, that “privilege” can lead to raised eyebrows. The company seeks to ameliorate any discomfiture that might be experienced by its employees by assuring them that they acknowledge that understanding one’s own privilege can be unnerving, and in no way deviates from the fact that life might have thrown you some curve-balls anyway. What they don’t seem to acknowledge is that the whole concept of ‘privilege’, as defined within CRT, is largely bogus.
The training meanders its way through definitions of inclusion and equity, the latter being as far as I can tell a relative late comer to the D&I party and a term which generally means equality of outcome. The use of the word “liberation” is also troubling. In the context of the D&I training it is used to suggest that if you embody an identity that is manifestly lacking in privilege, or in some way prevents you from attaining the holy grail of “equity”, you require emancipation from its confines and limitations. It’s like something out of The Communist Manifesto – pointing to some struggle that has long been raging between groups at work; those who are yet to be awakened from their false consciousness are now invited to do so at the behest and blessing of their gracious employer. It is an offer few feel able to refuse, even if they want to.
Do companies really support equality of outcome? If so, then sign me up for entry-level work and responsibility but with the CEO’s pay-check immediately! That’s some equity I can get behind!
Towards the end of the training there are calls to see people as individuals rather than as members of any one particular group, and to be aware of unconscious bias. This is despite having been told throughout the training thus far that seeing people as members of identity groups is wholly appropriate, and is in fact instrumental in understanding their own privilege or lack thereof. With scant regard to logical consistency, or evidential standards, the disputed nature of unconscious bias is not acknowledged.
At this point of the training I am not sure whether I am coming or going. Neither, it seems, are my employers. Do they understand the postmodernist philosophical and Marxist underpinnings of CRT? Why would they? Philosophy is not what they do. But if organisations are going to keep pushing CRT and other forms of critical social justice onto their employees, many of whom will want to resist indoctrination into ways of thinking with which they fundamentally disagree; and which have, at best, only a tangential connection with their work, they should be able to give convincing reasons why they are doing what they are doing.
The superficial righteousness of the cause (who, after all, does not want justice and equality?) means that even mild hesitation or soft dissent is interpreted as being not just a difference of opinion as regards the approach to D&I, but as outright support for racism and bigotry. This makes it difficult for employees with legitimate concerns to raise them for fear of the repercussions. And there are legitimate concerns about all of these initiatives, but the strongly conformist culture this training encourages makes it very difficult for concerns to be aired and discussed in good faith. This is not good for collegiality which is generally a positive thing to have at work. What will happen when employees start speaking out? We’ve already had a glimpse.
One of the potential saving graces of my company’s D&I training is that it refers to diversity of thought. I often refer to New Discourses’ translations from the wokish to decipher what proponents of social justice truly mean. I wonder whether my company’s commitment to diversity of thought goes as far as to encourage, or even actively seek views that are critical of the foundational premises of its chosen training, or whether it is really only skin-colour deep.
This training I have just undertaken contains no test in which I am required to score a certain mark, though I think it is reasonable to suppose that such tests will be included in future as critical social justice embeds itself further within professional organisations and employees are inspected for ideological loyalty. The conclusion of the training ends with the usual recommended reading lists – Ibram X Kendi, Reni Edo-Lodge, Layla Saad – as well as links to other websites and videos extolling the wonders of being woke. I cannot help but feel that this training has simply been “Phase 1 of Woke Indoctrination” – not exactly what I go to work for and it leaves me with a foreboding of what is to come.
Identity politics have officially been imported into the workplace.