Friday, April 21, 2006

So, I Learned About Diversity. And while there was some obvious stuff about how hearing diverse voices makes our product better, it was relatively non-patronizing. They were very into us tapping the very-quickly-growing hispanic market. And by "us" I mean the other, bigger magazine that shares its office with ours. There was only one instance where a co-worker said, "I mean, when I was a little kid my best friend was black. I didn't care what color she was!" Which is just such a cliche. Everyone has had that experience -- well, maybe not the people who grew up in Whitey Hills, where I live how. But still, it doesn't mean you are more open-minded or special.

There was one activity where we broke into five groups, each one being a different station on the "scale of tolerance." We could pick where we went, so of course I raced right over to number 5, Repulsion. Then the leaders read out scenarios about a fictional co-worker, and we were to write down a response to match the level of tolerance we were at. All of the old-timer cynical snarksters had run over to Repulsion with me, so our responses were pretty awesome. We hated this fictional co-worker so much that when he'd say something in a meeting, we'd start shaking our heads in disagreement as soon as he started to speak, and once he was finished we'd cut in with a "That would never, ever work." At the end the leaders had us rate this fictional co-worker's chances of success in the company, and of course we were supposed to say "0-10%" or something. But the members of the Repulsion team are so jaded and bitter that we ended up answering "50%, because obviously someone liked him enough to hire him in the first place, so there's a good chance he'll get promoted to management."

I'm not sure what the point of the exercise was.

All in all it was pretty painless. And now I can say I've been trained in diversity!


Anonymous said...

Don't you mean "Whitey Valley"?
- SWay.

jac said...

Awesome. I once went to a corporate Equal Opportunities seminar, and the (female) facilitator explained how some people don't like women bosses. A very senior executive piped up with, "Oh no, I do some of my best work under a woman."

av said...

Hilarious rendering of the event. I think with older people, "I didn't care what color she was!" is a bigger deal cause they dealt with more overt racism. Yup, by 2050 Hispanics will be 25% of the US population. I'm likely destined to figure out how to sell to them. And to those who turn their noses up at marketers - if you're so against buying and selling, stop buying! Try it! You'll smell bad. And try to find out how to clean your teeth without the help of some fancy packaging. *sigh*. I don't want to sell canned tomatoes. :(

debl said...

She is actually my age or probably younger! And she told me that in college she majored in race relations or something, and she is very nice actually and I should probably give her a break.