“Good morning, colleagues, and welcome to today’s required training. I hope you’ve all read and considered our required reading, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Today we’ll begin by reviewing the author’s basic concept:
“White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress …. Whites are often at a loss for how to respond in constructive ways, as we have not had to build the cognitive or affective skills or develop the stamina that that would allow for constructive engagement across racial divides, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.”
“Ms. Chief, do you think it’s right to attribute a pejorative quality to all people of a single race? Isn’t that racial stereotyping, which we’re taught to avoid at all costs? And isn’t it just as offensive when it is forwarded by a white person?”
“Well, the author does allow that poor and working class urban whites can be less racially insulated than suburban or rural whites and have less racial stress.”
“Well, what if a middle-class white person’s parent had been brought up in a mixed racial environment, regularly invited blacks into their home, interacted with them as equals, and conditioned his children to do the same? Can you see how the generalization, also in critical race theory, that all whites have to determine not whether, but how they are racist, is unfair?”
“And isn’t this notion that something’s emotionally wrong with people with ‘improper’ ideas what they did to Soviet dissidents, who were actually institutionalized? Terms like ‘white fragility’ and especially ‘homophobia,’ which is a psychological term, feel like ‘hate speech.’”
“I don’t think you’re getting into the spirit of things here, and are keeping others from understanding and accepting these concepts. Remember, you’re required to get a passing grade in this training. Let’s move on to our first video.”
Video: Middle-aged white male leading a business discussion.
Jim: “We’re preparing to launch our new line, with a special emphasis on reaching communities of color. Aleesha, I’m wondering if you could share some perspectives of product attributes we could bring out in this campaign.”
Aleesha: “Why are you asking me? Is it because I’m black? Don’t you realize that implying I might have some special insight into communities of color because of my race is offensive?”
“So class, any thoughts on why Jim’s actions were improper?”
“Why? Haven’t we been told diversity improves decision-making by bringing in a variety of perspectives, like Jim was seeking? Diversity’s also supposed to improve productivity, but it seems Jim’s the only one trying to get something done. Everyone else in these videos is caught up in some ‘microaggression.’”
“Joe, once again, you’re keeping others from increasing their sensitivity. Now our second video.”
Video: Jane walks into the conference room as Jim prepares for a meeting.
Jim: “Hi, Jane. My, you’re looking sharp today. That’s a striking outfit.”
June: “Jim, there you go commenting on a woman’s appearance. Don’t you know that’s a form of harassment? I’m of a mind to report this latest incident on Jane’s behalf.”
“So why is Jim’s action in this instance wrong?”
“Again, I don’t get it. Like so many professional women, especially on TV these days, Jane’s wearing a form-fitting, sleeveless shift with plenty of skin showing, including some cleavage. Plus she’s wearing heels and is cherry red lipstick. All designed to make her attractive to men. There wouldn’t be offense if June had made that comment. Isn’t that discrimination?”
“Joe, you are endangering your passing grade in this course, and others’. Let’s go to our third video.”
Video: Jim talking to a female colleague in a café.
Jim: “I just don’t get how I’m supposed to deal with this new person in our department. It’s a he who wants to be considered a she named Chelsea, and be referred to as xe, xem and xyr. It makes me uncomfortable.”
Morgan: “Shouldn’t you just let xem decide what xe wants to be called? And isn’t the important thing that xe is a good worker?”
“Folks, what about Jim’s discomfort at Chelsea?”
“Might not a lot of people – including Jim’s other employees and customers – be uncomfortable being confronted with a he that wants to be a she called xe? You’re forcing speech and thought patterns, not to mention employees, on people who might be genuinely offended. In some situations, couldn’t that be considered religious discrimination? Plus, why is the white male manager always the bad guy in these videos?”
“Meanwhile, If Jim doesn’t conform, he could be suspended, fired and canceled. Isn’t the whole concept of anti-bias training where people must give ‘right’ answers to disputable issues fundamentally wrong? Not to mention bad for business when people are hounded into groupthink by threats to employment or advancement?”
“Joe, aren’t you tired of retaking this training? You’re about to flunk for the third time.”
“Why is it I think I’m not the one flunking?”
Your (Conservative) Maestro has been around for a really long time orchestrating messaging and communications strategy for politicians, CEOs and other assorted types. He thinks he may have picked up a few things along the way.