A piece in today’s Telegraph:
This week KPMG boss Bill Michaels made headlines for stating that unconscious bias training is ‘complete c–p’. Or rather, I should say ‘former KPMG boss Bill Michaels’. For within a day of the comments, the 52-year old Australian was forced to stand aside. After all, you cannot have the heads of Fortune 500 companies going against the anti-capitalist dogmas of the era. And none is so dogmatic as the fraud known as ‘unconscious bias training.’
Many people reading this will have heard of this exercise. Some might even have been submitted to it. In the last year this unscientific exercise has been rolled out across corporation after corporation. Mr Michaels was too lenient. Unconscious bias training is more than c–p. It is a crock. One that has been rolled out thanks to a collaboration of the dim, the opportunistic and the easily bullied.
The whole thing started 20 years ago thanks to an exercise carried out by three academics at Harvard. The academics tried to see whether we could track or quantify unconscious biases that people may carry around with them. In the last two decades the rudimentary test has been taken online by millions of people. In time it became the basis of an industry, propelled by people pushing divisive ideas about identity politics. These people either believed or professed to believe that the exercise was scientific and could actually correct the brains and behaviour of anyone who had beliefs they disagreed with.
So far and fast did this run that soon the inventors of the monster realised what they’d created and tried to kill it. Two of the three Harvard academics responsible said publicly that the exercise was not capable of being used in the way it was being used. There are too many variables in peoples’ behaviour over any day, never mind over time, to quantify, pin down – let alone ‘correct’ anyone’s ‘biases’.
But that is where the opportunists came in. For in recent years another group decided to claim that these ‘tests’ had some laser-like precision. They began to charge hundreds of pounds to people to tell them that they were biased. A very nice racket to get into. For if anyone objected then this was simply yet more evidence of unconscious bias. Comrade Stalin would have admired the move.
But for the racket to work, the dim and opportunistic needed customers: and found many among the cowardly. For across this country corporate bosses and civil servants, cowed by their junior employees, started to decide that giving everyone unconscious bias training was a way of showing that they were ‘doing something’. Insincere and ignorant activists got away with rolling out a programme that presumes not just to identify human biases but to rewire everyone’s brains. The presumption is quite amazing.
I took one of these tests myself last year. My ‘high speed training’ course took only a couple of hours. For my money I got a certificate, suffered a couple of hours of attempts at reprogramming and learned a fair deal about fraud.
The stated aim was to show that prejudice and stereotyping exist, that we are not always aware of it and that we need to break ‘old habits’. For instance we are told that we are likely to promote people who we feel greater sympathies with and that this is wrong. A case study is offered: a person who is qualified for a role and another person who is a friend of yours and isn’t qualified apply for the same job. Who should you promote? You will be amazed to hear that the correct answer is not ‘your mate’.
But the real point is to push the ‘diversity’ agenda. We are told that unconscious bias ‘impairs diversity’ and that ‘a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential for hiring top talent, fostering creativity and guiding business strategies.’ Which ought to make the United Nations the most efficient organisation in the world.
All this and more was simply asserted, never proved. Because as you do the test it becomes increasingly clear that this is not education but re-education.
I was warned that when it came to promoting women I may make the wrong choice because ‘in your culture and upbringing you’ve learnt that the woman is the maternal figure.’ Elsewhere we are warned that we might have a bias in assuming older people know more than younger people. Happily there are a range of ways to overcome all these outrageous notions.
You’ll be surprised that the first is ‘Invest in training’. ‘All staff should have training in unconscious bias so that they know what to look out for.’ This training should be ‘for everyone’. The ‘core values’ everyone will then have are clear. We are encouraged to say them out loud. One chant is ‘I desire a workforce where everyone is equal and diverse.’
So there it is. A ready made ideology with ready-made slogans to make you ready for the era. All it costs you is work, time, money and any self-esteem you might have had before being made to submit.
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