Exhibition at South Sydney – and some food for thought

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Sirdan and I think that may be Lord Malcolm…

Food for thought

It’s uplifting to stand on ceremony – Noel Pearson in the Weekend Australian.

IRRATIONAL, anti-Aboriginal thinking is the most troubling current in the Australian psyche, from colonisation to the present day. Aborigines are under no obligation to explain why it exists.

One school of thought has been that anti-Aboriginal ideology emerged to justify dispossession, and people have made connections with the history of racialist thinking in other countries.

But analysis of racism is ultimately futile.

Anti-Aboriginal thinking is like anti-Semitism: a complex of irrational ideas that cannot be understood as a reaction informed by personal experience, facts or spurious information that is believed to be true.

Irrational contempt becomes the primary reason for its own continued existence. This is captured in the famous dictum on the ineradicability of anti-Semitism: "If the Jews did not exist, the anti-Semites would invent them."

The irrational nature of anti-Aboriginal thinking through history is obvious. No matter how decimated, powerless, removed to the fringe or distant reserves Aboriginal Australians have been, anti-Aboriginal thinking has been virulent…

Who’s still biased?Boston Globe

If you work at a large company, and especially if you manage other people, chances are you’ve gone through diversity training. The vast majority of the Fortune 500 and, by some estimates, the majority of American employers offer diversity training programs for their employees. Many make such training mandatory. The amount of money spent on it in the United States runs into the billions.

The courses vary widely, in content and duration and method and philosophy: Some are short videos followed by structured discussions, some are multiday retreats, some are informational, teaching participants about their “diversity circle” and the difference between a generalization and a stereotype, others focus on role-playing. But they all promise to help people better navigate the fault lines of race, gender, culture, class, and sexual orientation that can divide co-workers and unsettle offices.

Such programs have always been controversial, with critics arguing that they’re unnecessary and needlessly politicize the workplace. But despite the growth and prevalence of diversity training, there have been few attempts to systematically study it…

Critics, on the other hand, argue that today’s practitioners are unlikely to be converging on a set of best practices, since the field is characterized by divergent, even contradictory approaches to the same set of problems. To critics, the proponents are simply mistaking the fact that people feel better about themselves after training for real results. Just because people think they’re less prejudiced doesn’t mean they are. Indeed, with something as subtle and reflexive as bias, we’re often our own worst judges…

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