The ideology of equity, diversity and inclusion under the magnifying glass

If the values ​​of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) have been the target of several backlashes recently, it is above all due to the counterproductive training used by many organizations and companies in the name of virtue, the author believes.

Contrary to what the letter suggests “After progress, regrets? Not in Quebec! » 1 published in The Press, criticisms regarding EDI do not focus on the relevance of having diversified environments, the merits of which are obvious.

If “it is claimed that EDI efforts are a waste of time, resources and money or that they are illusory”, it is because these efforts are too often supported by costly training, the ineffectiveness has been repeatedly demonstrated through scientific studies.

Even though some research on the subject initially indicated that these trainings were effective – these results were based on simple surveys carried out before and after these trainings – the picture of the situation changed radically once scientists looked into the effects of these trainings on behavior.

They determined that they do not reduce bias, do not promote better collaboration between groups, do not help with the retention of employees from minority groups or do not minimize conflict in the workplace.

We also observe in these trainings double standards towards members of majority groups (generally men, “whites” or heterosexuals) who are described unfavorably compared to members of minority groups (women, ethnic minorities). , LGBTQ2S+ employees).

Result ? Many members of majority groups come away from these trainings feeling that their culture, perspectives and interests are not valued, which harms their morale and productivity.

An example of EDI training that goes wrong

Last July, the case of Torontonian Richard Bilkszto made headlines. Victim of intimidation following a false accusation of racism, and thereby sinking into depression, this former school principal killed himself during the summer of 2023, undermined by this situation and by the weight of a lawsuit filed against his school board.

During anti-racist training provided in 2021, his “crime” was to oppose the assertion of a consultant, Kike Ojo-Thompson, according to which Canada is a more racist country than the United States (! ). It was enough for the man’s statement to be described as typical remarks of “white supremacism” by this consultant.

The latter’s behavior was also the subject of an investigation by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Commission, which concluded that her conduct was “abusive, serious and vexatious, and that it rose to the level of workplace harassment and intimidation.”

Note also that the firm founded and managed by this consultant, the Kojo Institute, benefited from a lucrative $81,000 contract awarded without a call for tenders by Mr. Bilkszto’s school board for a handful of hours of training, information recently revealed by journalist Jonathan Kay⁠2.

If, for some, this case is only an anecdote, for others, who see the abuses in terms of EDI multiplying – job offers excluding “white” heterosexual men, safe spaces for minority groups in the workplace, swimming lessons for “blacks” only, workshops to raise awareness of subjective content, racialization of social relations – it is rather another alarm signal.

In Quebec, we must be extra vigilant in the face of these training courses which threaten our values ​​and which resemble indoctrination sessions based on an ideological approach.

Who really knows what is said in these workshops developed and offered – in our CEGEPs, our universities, our public institutions, private companies – without the slightest supervision?

Today, showing courage in matters of EDI means questioning these questionable and arbitrary training courses. Our commitment to living together cannot avoid such awareness.

1. Read the opinion letter “Equity, diversity and inclusion: after the progress, the regrets? Not in Quebec! »

2. Read the article “New Details in the Tragic Case of Toronto Educator Richard Bilkszto”

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