A [literature survey] published last year … and found no empirical support for the idea that diversity training programs change attitudes or behavior. Similarly, a 2008 literature review … found … there were few trustworthy studies – and decidedly mixed results among those. And research by a team of sociologists on more than 800 companies over three decades has found that the best diversity training programs make little difference in who gets hired and promoted, and many programs actually decrease the number of women and minorities in management. …
It's cheaper to pay for diversity classes than deal with potential litigation costs.
One problem that invariably occurs when justices try to codify popular science is that they wind up chiseling into granite ideas that were fashionable for but a day. Whatever you may think of abortion there's no better example than the silly trimester scheme embraced by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Long after those bright lines were enshrined in the law we are slaves to them even though subsequent research has demonstrated them to be distinctions without any differences.
Similarly, courts around the country are now demanding 20th century science, frequentist epidemiology, and rejecting 21st century science, molecular biology and any sort of Bayesian analysis, in cases involving causal claims about alleged toxins and cancerous or teratogenic effects. Why? Because, with few exceptions, judges are as fond of fads as anyone - but they get to make fads fadish forever.
David Friedman complains here about judges not being held liable for negligence in their decisions.
Being openly racist or sexist can get you fired, sued, imprisoned in some countries and will get you socially shunned in large swaths of society.
When it comes to changing expressed attitudes, or behavior, concerning racism or sexism a couple of hours sensitivity training seems utterly insignificant compared to the above factors.
To me it seems much more likely that diversity sensitivity trainers has benefitted from changes in society at large than that they have caused even small changes in society at large.
attitudes are hard to measure but *behaviours* in the corporate environment most certainly have changed...I suppose the training could be coincidental unrelated, but something has caused behaviour to change.
"The problem is that while “burning money” can indeed signal values, it can be hard to tell what values exactly it signals. "
Why does there need to be any other signal than "I can burn money" or "I can force others to burn money"? Both shows plenty of power in a non-fakeable way.
It might also be that it is low status to openly be against diversity in the social circles of most legal decision makers. So the risk of social shame biases them towards decisions which seems more anti-racist.
Oh, and the comment that this is done to protect "legal" elites, I would note that most of these programs are conducted by non-lawyers.
Sort of like saying that economics classes are prepared to protect the economic elites.
I think this post really widely misses the mark as to why corporations have diversity programs: it is not to "burn" money, but it is to protect themselves and put the responsibility on the employee and to give the employer the right to can the employee for not following company policies.
No, corporations like this stuff for prophalictic reasons and to point the finger at someone else.
They already do.
Is there any evidence that this blog changes attitudes or behavior?
Is the converse true: does segregation increase tolerance?
I look at some of the local charter schools in my city: a Somali charter school, a Hmong charter school, and, perversely, a charter school that sponsors the teaching of Latin.
Perhaps you have to measure this against the past and against alternatives to make a decision on diversity training or diversity awareness. My own observation, as a lawyer, is that having to attend diversity training is informative, although it also makes you a little cynical. Like medicine that tastes bad, I always believe it benefits others and I didn't need to take it.
Maybe that is a bias also.
It is also likely that the companies themselves like the diversity training as a signal of effort. It isn't just the lawsuits. Companies want to signal their good intentions and would prefer cheap rather than costly ways to do this.