What if liberal anti-racists aren’t advancing the cause of equality?

That’s a far cry from today’s emphasis on private sector activity not mandated by the state – through anti-racist trainings at workplaces and the like – to foster diversity and inclusion. For starters, “diversity” and “inclusion” aren’t synonymous with “equality” and “justice” and trainings themselves don’t appear to be effective, even on their own terms. But even if they did work, the best we could expect from them is a more sensitive working environment for minorities lucky enough to be employed or for those customers who patronize them. If you don’t have a job, or don’t have any money, you’re out of luck.

Why is there so much emphasis on these trainings, then? Part of the story is the budding industry emerging around them – expert guidance through “honest and raw discussions of white supremacy and implicit bias and an analysis of racial hegemony” doesn’t come cheap, and is a job creation program of its own. But there are other reasons why even seemingly apolitical brands like Gushers and Fruit by the Foot, who make delicious varieties of candy, are jumping on the liberal anti-racism bandwagon.

First, it might satisfy younger staffers who want to feel like they’re working for companies that are stalwarts of anti-racism. Second, some consumers might like such anti-racist gesturing. Third, showing a commitment to diversity and arranging for a diversity consultant to come in is cheaper than dealing with an anti-discrimination lawsuit, having to deal with a Twitter-led consumer boycott for a misstep, or paying black and brown workers more.