November 27, 2007

Denver Diversity Training Video--"Hammer The White Guy"

**Update 2--The city pulls the offending video, CBS4 has the full 8 minute video; the city responds:
Denver has decided to shelve a diversity-training video that portrays a white man as the sole bigot among a cast of blacks, Hispanics and women.

The decision to pull the video, titled Laughing Matters — Think About It, comes after Dennis Supple, a white man who works for the city, complained that it was racist and violated his civil rights.

The video has generated intense media interest from local and national outlets, including CNN, The Washington Times and the Greg Knapp Experience, a nationally broadcast radio program.

"We have clearly struck a nerve," Kathy Maloney, spokeswoman for the Career Service Authority, said today in a news release.

"We want to use this revived attention and passion from our employees to open dialogue with the result being the best end product possible," she said. "We will suspend the use of the video until we can facilitate this collaboration at an upcoming summit."
**Update--Michelle Malkin links (thanks!) and has a snippet of the offending video

"Diversity, to me, doesn't mean hammer the white guy . . . Diversity means you have respect for everyone, regardless of their race, their gender, their religion, their sexual orientation"--Dennis Supple, city of Denver employee

Diversity training in the workplace requires the implementation of awkward, cheesy indoctrination materials, and a convenient bigoted bogeyman to demonstrate the inherent/institutional -isms that diversity/multiculturalism seeks to eliminate. Luckily for Denver and its training video, they have found the perfect bad guy--you guessed it, a white male:
The city of Denver is showing its employees a diversity training video that portrays a white man as a narrow-minded buffoon - triggering allegations of "institutional racism" against Anglos.

"Right now, their diversity program is racially motivated against white males," said Dennis Supple, a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning mechanic who has worked for the city 1 1/2 years.

The video, titled Laughing Matters - Think About It, is meant to show employees how humor at the expense of others diminishes respect in the workplace. The character who breaks all the rules is Billy, a white, blue-collar worker who's a racist, sexist goofball.

In one scene, Billy is told that another employee named Carlos can't do anything because he's waiting for supplies.

"What's his problem?" Billy says. "He can't sell breakfast burritos without the supplies or he takes a siesta?"

Supple said the video violates his civil rights and that he's considering taking the equity in his house to file a lawsuit to stop the city from showing it.

"Diversity, to me, doesn't mean hammer the white guy," Supple said. "Diversity means you have respect for everyone, regardless of their race, their gender, their religion, their sexual orientation."
The educatee has become the educator in this case, reminding the bureaucratic diversity-mongers that at best, having respect is the basis for a stable, non-discriminatory work environment. Sometimes, however, the diversity-trainers get carried away and have to fall back on excuses:
Kathy Maloney, spokeswoman for the Career Service Authority, said the video is part of a one- to three-hour facilitated discussion.

"The video itself is scheduled for updating in either 2008 or 2009, so (Supple's) input would certainly be taken into consideration for the next video," she said.

Maloney noted the last thing to appear on the 8-minute video is this phrase: "Remember, Billy could be anyone."

She also said the teaching guide tells facilitators to "ensure participants recognize this video does not highlight or target any particular individual or group."

"It's meant to represent anyone who could (use) inappropriate humor in the workplace," she said.
This would be true except that in most cases, only the majority's jokes are abolished or cause for concern. Jokes or educational points, made at the expense of the white male in the room, are acceptable or even encouraged, as a way for trainers to indoctrinate facilitate discussion:
"If you portrayed a black woman (or a Hispanic or a homosexual) in that manner, there'd be hell to pay," Supple said. "But it's OK for them to portray a white man in this manner because you put down one little (disclaimer) at the end of the (video) that says, 'Remember, anybody could be Billy.' That's a bunch of bull."

The video, developed by the city's Diversity Advisory Committee in collaboration with Channel 8, the city's television channel, won second place in 2005 for Instruction/Training from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.
Don't even want to know what the winning video looked like . . .

**Update--Drunkablog was, of course, on top of this story last week linking to an earlier version of the same story

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