James Lindsay: Organizations who hire woke "diversity trainers" are asking for trouble

James Lindsay is one of the authors of the Sokal Squared hoax of grievance study journals. He now operates a site called New Discourses which is entirely devoted to criticizing woke politics. Yesterday he published a piece about why organizations and institutions should think twice before inviting diversity trainers inside. Lindsay has argued at length about this in various places but the basic point is this: The goal of woke diversity trainers is to make your organization either submit or collapse and they don’t much care which.

“Diversity” training using Critical Race Theory and Critical Social Justice (henceforth: “diversity” training) is designed to create exactly the kinds of divisions and problems in an organization that will generate conflict and hostile working or learning environments. (Expect lawsuits, eventually.) “Diversity” training using these Theories is designed to create the necessary conditions where conflict and a broken organizational culture will be the eventual result, like night follows day. Put more simply, “diversity” training is designed to create conditions for hostility, discomfort, polarization, conflict, and collapse in the institutions that use them.

Lindsay then lays out the way in which this works. A hard core of diversity trainers, from outside or inside the organization, shows up and seeks to normalize the ideas and language of Critical Social Justice. They create a group that sympathizes with them and their goals. At the same time, the trainers inform everyone that disinterest in social justice is in fact hostility to it. Silence is violence. You can only choose to be racist or anti-racist.

Much of “diversity” training will focus on using the specialized terminology to create a web of rationales that can be used to undermine neutrality and discredit genuine opposition, mostly by accusing those who aren’t participating or who are opposed of various problematic dispositions, behaviors, stances, and attitudes that prevent them from wanting to fully engage with “diversity” and the Theories upon which it is based. People who endure these trainings disinterestedly will be reminded over and over again that there is no neutrality on the relevant “diversity” issues, and that to choose neutrality is to be opposed to “diversity.” Meanwhile, opposition will be signaled as a character flaw like lacking “cultural humility” or possessing “white fragility” or “brown fragility,” or as outright complicity in the “system of oppression” that is the problem “diversity” training is meant to overcome. These signals will be received, and the willingness of the people who disagree to speak up will be chilled, knowing there will be social and perhaps professional consequences.

This effectively shuts up most people who aren’t looking to start a fraught social battle at work on grounds they are not familiar with. But if there are a few holdouts who refuse to go along, they can be singled out for criticism and labeled as disruptive. This helps to shut them up (or maybe get them fired) and also discourages others from following their lead. Lindsay calls it the preconditions for “civil war.”

At this point, it can be seen that “diversity” training is not likely to be helping to create the harmonious, diverse working environment its advocates advertise. It is, in fact, (though it will sound hyperbolic to say so) setting the necessary preconditions for an institutional civil war.

With all of this is in place, it’s just a matter of time before some incident takes place which triggers a reaction from the social justice adherents within the group. And once this trigger happens, the activists spring into action:

The precipitating event will be interpreted by the activist core as proof of systemic problems in the organization because that’s literally what they’re activists in doing. This will establish one pole, branded righteous and “anti-racist.” The sympathizers will generally agree and think the issue is important and tend to take their side, speaking in the terms they became familiar with and half-conversant in during their “diversity” training sessions. The dissidents will oppose it and form a second pole, which will be branded evil (racist, etc.). Furthermore, everyone in the middle who doesn’t take a side immediately will be pressured to do so, ramping up division and polarization…

This is bad for the organization, but that’s not a concern of the “diversity” trainers. Their goal is to produce “diversity,” not functioning organizations. Organizations are merely another means to this end. This point cannot be overstated, and it is very poorly understood. The utility of your organization to “diversity” trainers is not to enhance what your organization does but to leverage its capacity to be divert resources into achieving what it calls “diversity.”

To help you understand this last point in greater detail, “diversity” activists have two goals in mind, and those are both of the most likely outcomes of your organization’s “diversity” civil war. Either the organization folds to their pressure and becomes a “diversity” activist organ that diverts the maximum amount of resources to “diversity,” or it collapses, which will be rationalized as another racist organization dying. Both of these outcomes aren’t just adequate but positive goods to the sort of “diversity” ideology that’s rooted in Critical Theories of Social Justice…

This kind of woke diversity training is a kind of Medieval witch hunt. From the outset you are either with the inquisitors 100% or you are under suspicion. And if the latter, the clearly your opinion can’t be trusted and your fate must be left to the tender mercies of the inquisitors who, after all, only want what is best for the community.

In a speech he gave last month, Lindsay made a similar point about what it is woke diversity trainers mean by “diversity.

“Diversity means hiring critical theorists,” Lindsay said. He continued, “That’s what diversity means and if you don’t understand that they think in terms of power, you think I’m crazy when I tell you that. I’m not crazy. That’s what they mean.

“Diversity means uniformity of critical theory thought with different-colored faces…They need the authentic lived experience where authentic means agrees with critical theory. That’s what it means. And you can’t possibly believe me until you understand that they think only in terms of systemic power.”

Here’s the speech queued up to about a minute before that quote above but the whole thing is worth watching if you have time.