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作者:Joanne Lipman




How Diversity Training Infuriates Men and Fails Women


本文选自 TIME | 取经号原创翻译

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DECADES BEFORE ANITA HILL, Gretchen Carlson or #MeToo, American companies dreamed up “diversity training,” typically a course that lasts anywhere from an hour to a couple of days, with the goal of wiping out biases against women and others from underrepresented groups. For most of its history, diversity training has been pretty much a cudgel, pounding white men into submission with a mix of finger-wagging and guilt-mongering.


Anital Hill 安妮塔·希尔: 1991年,俄克拉何马州大学的法律教授Anita Hill 在国会听证会上出面指控当时刚被布什总统提名担任联邦最高法院大法官的Clarence Thomas对其性骚扰,导致后者差点失去担任大法官的机会。

Gretchen Carlson 格蕾琴·卡尔森: 2016年,前任新闻节目主播Gretchen Carlson公开曝光电视台的性骚扰问题,去年六月,在Gretchen Carlson与电视台合同期满不久后,她将前任Fox新闻总裁以及CEO Roger Ailes告上法庭。随后,更有20多名女性对Ailes提起性骚扰指控,Alies因此于8月辞职。

MeToo: 2017年10月哈维·韦恩斯坦性骚扰事件后在社交媒体上广泛传播的一个主题标签,用于遣责性侵犯与性骚扰行为。社会运动人士塔拉纳·伯克在此之前数年便开始使用这一短语,后经女演员艾莉莎·米兰诺的传播而广为人知。米兰诺鼓励女性在推特上公开被侵犯的经历,以使人们能认识到这些行为的普遍性。自此之后,数百万人使用了这一标签来公开她们的不快经历,其中也包括许多知名人士。



The first training programs surfaced in the 1950s, after men returned from World War II and were appalled and perplexed to find women in their offices. After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the training took on more urgency. Within a decade, it had morphed into a knee-jerk response to legal actions, after a series of high-profile sex discrimination suits, including one by the women of Newsweek magazine, who were stranded in a pink ghetto. “Women don’t write at Newsweek. If you want to be a writer, go someplace else,” the bosses told them, according to Lynn Povich, one of the 46 women who sued.


The Civil Riht Act of 1964: 1964年民權法案,美國國會於1964年通過的法案,內容規範了美國境內不得採取種族隔離,也規定對黑人、少數民族與婦女的歧視性作為是非法。它結束了美國自立國以來長期存在於學校、工作場所及公共空間的黑白種族隔離政策,被認為是人權進步的里程碑。初期授予法案的執行力量較為薄弱,但後來逐漸得到支持。

pink ghetto:粉色贫民窟。粉色贫民窟意味女性较多的职业,也称“粉领”,如护士,教师,秘书等。同时也表示这些职业中的女性无法升至董事等高层职位。

appall /ə’pɔːl/ v. to make somebody feel shock, horror, or disgust 使惊恐

perplex /pər’pleks/ v. to puzzle or confuse somebody, especially causing doubt 使困惑


By the time I entered the workforce in the 1980s, the Newsweek suit and others like it—led by women at TIME, the Associated Press and the New York Times—were mostly forgotten. Diversity training had taken a backseat too. I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase until the 1990s. By then, it had been reconstituted as a feel-good exercise in consciousness-raising. White men were told they should include women and minorities because it’s the right thing to do. It was all about the importance of “inclusion.”



But here’s the thing about diversity training: it doesn’t work.



Harvard organizational sociology professor Frank Dobbin and others have since delved into why such programs have failed. Dobbin combed through thousands of data points and found that for white women and black men and women in management positions, it actually made things worse. That’s right: companies that introduced diversity training would actually employ more women and black men today if they had never had diversity training at all. He singled out three situations in which training is doomed to fail: when it’s mandatory; when it so much as mentions the law; or when it is specific to managers, as opposed to being offered to all employees. Unfortunately, he found, about 75% of firms with diversity-training programs fall into at least one of those categories.

自意识到这一问题后,哈佛组织社会学教授弗兰克·杜宾和其他研究者就着力研究原因。杜宾梳理了数以千计的数据后发现,对于在管理层的白人女性、黑人男性以及黑人女性来说,培训反而让事情变得更糟了。没错,过去引入了多元化培训的公司,如果从来没有那么做,如今也会聘用更多的女性和黑人男性。他发现在三种情况下,培训是注定失败的:当培训是强制性的; 当培训涉及到法律;当培训只针对管理人员,而非全体职工。不幸的是,杜宾同时发现75%接受过多元化培训项目的公司至少符合以上三种情况中的一种。

delve/dɛlv/v. to investigate or research something thoroughly in order to obtain information 研究


Perhaps more to the point is the fact that the training infuriates the people it’s intended to educate: white men. “Many interpreted the key learning point as having to walk on eggshells around women and minorities—choosing words carefully so as not to offend. Some surmised that it meant white men were villains, still others assume that they would lose their jobs to minorities and women, while others concluded that women and minorities were simply too sensitive,” executives Rohini Anand and Mary-Frances Winters noted in a 2008 analysis of diversity training in the Academy of Management Learning & Education.

可能更关键的一点在于,这种培训恰恰会激怒它想要教育的对象:白人男性。“许多人都认为在培训中学习的关键点,就是如履薄冰般对待女性和少数族群,小心翼翼地选择用词,以防冒犯他们。一些人就此推测说,白人男性都是恶棍,一部分人认为他们的工作可能会被少数群体及女性夺去,而其他人则认为女性和少数群体只是过于敏感罢了。” 高管罗希尼·阿南德和玛丽·弗朗西丝·温特斯在2008年版美国管理学会《学习与教育》一书中的多元化培训章节分析指出。

surmise /sə(rˈ)maɪz/ v. to conclude that sth. is the case on the basis of only limited evidence or intuitive feeling 推测


Training done badly can also damage otherwise cordial relationships. Women and minorities often leave training sessions thinking their co-workers must be even more biased than they had previously imagined. In a more troubling development, it turns out that telling people about others’ biases can actually heighten their own. Researchers have found that when people believe everybody else is biased, they feel free to be prejudiced themselves. In one study, a group of managers was told that stereotypes are rare, while another group was told that stereotypes are common. Then both groups were asked to evaluate male and female job candidates. The managers who were told that stereotypes are common were more biased against the women. In a similar study, managers didn’t want to hire women and found them unlikable.


prejudice /prej·u·dice/v. to make somebody form an opinion about somebody or something inadvance, especially an irrational one, based on insufficient knowledge 偏见


The evidence is damning. Yet companies continue to invest heavily in diversity training, spending, by one estimate, almost $8 billion a year. It has led to what the Economist dubbed “diversity fatigue.” In a recent article, the magazine suggested that 12 of the most terrifying words in the English language are I’m from human resources, and I’m here to organize a diversity workshop.

这些证据确凿。然而公司还在持续地在多元化培训上大量投资, 每年投资金额估计可达80亿美金。对于这一现象,经济学人将其戏称为“多元化疲劳”。 最近的一篇文章指出,在英文中最糟糕的一句话是:“我是来自人力资源部门,我来是为了组织一个多元化的研讨会。” 


Now companies are searching for more effective, less infuriating alternatives. Take tech firms, which have come under fire for being among the worst offenders when it comes to bias. The irony is that they have also been at the forefront of devising new ways to combat it. Can they turn around a culture where sexism has not only been tolerated but in many cases celebrated?



I sat down with Brian Welle, director of people analytics at Google, who is tasked with helping lead the latest trend: unconscious-bias training. We all have prejudices buried so deeply inside of us that we don’t know they exist. Unconscious-bias training is supposed to arm employees with the tools they need to recognize it and neutralize these prejudices. His role, Welle told me, was to ensure that “every decision we made, from hiring to promotion to pay to performance, didn’t have an unintended bias” against women or other underrepresented groups.



Welle seized on an insight that has proved to be key for anyone who is trying to wipe out hidden biases: if we believe that everyone around us is trying hard to fight against those stereotypes and prejudices, we’ll do the same. Call it peer pressure, or call it a pack mentality. Whatever it is, it works. Our own biases disappear.


wipe out to destroy large numbers of things or kill large numbers of people, especially suddenly and violently 消灭

Welle and his team ultimately developed a workshop for Google employees that strives to mimic those conditions. In a typical session, he explains the science, so that employees can understand that yes, we’re all biased, and yes, we’re all trying to fight it, and don’t worry, it isn’t your fault. He focuses on four ways to “interrupt” bias, all of which boil down to one word: awareness.



He encourages employees to use consistent criteria to measure success and to rely on data rather than on gut reactions when evaluating others. He urges them to notice how they react to subtle cues. Finally, he encourages employees to call out bias when they see it, even if the culprit is their own boss.



To be sure, unconscious-bias training isn’t a cure-all. Last year, a male Google engineer penned an anti-diversity “manifesto” protesting such efforts, and later called the firm’s training “just a lot of shaming.” The company fired him—and he hit back in January, suing Google for discrimination against conservative white males. Google is also fighting U.S. Department of Labor allegations of “extreme” underpayment to female Google employees, which the company denies.



Still, Google’s seminar is a model that other companies have adopted. In just the past few years, this kind of training has exploded at companies across the country. At Google, about 75% of its 75,000 employees have taken the workshop, and in 2014 the company spent $114 million on its various diversity programs.



At least 20% of companies in the U.S. now offer unconscious-bias training, from the Royal Bank of Canada to consultants McKinsey & Co. (“We do that big time,” says its top executive, Dominic Barton) and defense contractor BAE Systems. Almost all of the big tech firms already offer it, including Facebook, Salesforce and VMware, with more joining by the day. By some estimates, 50% of all American corporations will offer unconscious-bias training in the not-too distant future.



Undoubtedly, the popularity of these programs has soared in part because they intentionally don’t cast blame. The appeal of the training is that, unlike old-fashioned diversity training, it’s intended to be guilt-free. However, how much companies talk about equality and inclusiveness matters little compared with how they act. Incentives speak louder than any speeches by the CEO, or bias training workshops, or posters on a wall.


soar /sɔr/ to increase rapidly in number, volume, size, or amount 剧增


For Google, as for others, one key incentive came in the form of family leave. In 2007, Google sweetened its leave policy, extending paid maternity leave to nearly five months, from three. The result was immediate. Attrition rates for women who had babies plunged by 50%.



That set off an arms race of sorts, with a growing number of tech firms offering gender neutral paid parental leave to men as well as women, including Twitter (20 weeks), Etsy(26 weeks), Facebook (four months) and (18 weeks). Netflix and Virgin Management increased paid parental leave to a full year. The practice is now spreading beyond the tech industry to other industries as well.

这仿佛是开展了军备竞赛一样,越来越多的科技公司向男性及女性员工提供无性别差异的带薪产假,包括推特(20周)、手工艺品交易网站Etsy(26周)、脸书(4个月)、请愿联署网 (18周)等。网飞和维珍管理则将带薪产假延长至一整年。这一现象现在已跨越科技行业,在其他行业内也开始传播流行。


The results of these changes are still unfolding. But they point to a hard truth. For men as well as women, it doesn’t matter how sincere companies are in embracing diversity if their own policies work against it—and in particular if they make it impossible to balance work with family. America lags far behind most industrial countries in this respect. It is the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t offer paid parental leave. At least 96 other countries offer not only guaranteed maternity leave but paternity leave as well, including Gambia, Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Togo and Mauritius. Without broad policy changes that allow parents in every industry and at every level to have access to affordable health care and child care, the rest doesn’t matter.





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