Constructing Unethical Culture

What do woke corporations hope to gain by indoctrinating their employees?

Any large-company employee has had the miserable experience of being forced to sit through indoctrination "training" sessions teaching you about all the things your corporate masters don't want you to do, at least not on their dime.  Any management professional's inbox is similarly buried in spam offering seminars on compliance-training-this and ethical-culture-that.

Which raises some interesting questions, if you stop and think about it.  Corporate seminars, whatever they may be, don't come cheap - not only do you have to compensate the presenter, but every single person woolgathering in the audience is billing their full salary rate.

Obviously, someone on Mahogany Row thinks they're getting value for money - but what, exactly?

At best, they are telling us what any sane person without a criminal record already knows - basically, don't grab things that don't belong to you, whether it be the company's money or your secretary's fanny.  Didn't we all learn that in kindergarten?

Now, for a while around the turn of the century, a lot of this "training" was known by all to be a joke and was treated as such.  The sole purpose was as a shield against lawsuits - "It's not our fault one of our employees embezzled your money, we'd trained them not to do that!"

This being so, the only thing that mattered was that paper with your signature proving you'd attended, and to a lesser extent, the PowerPoint record of what was taught.  Ergo, solid proof that, no, theft was not company policy, indeed was expressly contrary to corporate practice.  It says so right here, Your Honor!

Of course, none of that stopped Enron, Arthur Andersen, or Bernie Madoff - nor, in their heart of hearts, did anyone expect it to.  A scrap of paper isn't going to stop people from doing wrong if that's what they want to do, and everyone knows it.  It's just another example of what we see every day - laws only have power against the law-abiding; by themselves they do nothing to stop the criminally-inclined.

Over the years, though, this wasteful but otherwise harmless practice has metastasized into... something else.

Coca-Cola employees were urged to be "less white" as part of the company's alleged diversity training - but the material was yanked offline following a viral whistleblower post.

The "Confronting Racism" course in question was offered by LinkedIn Education and allegedly utilized by the soft-drink titan.

"In the U.S. and other Western nations, white people are socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white," reads one of the slides.

As Candice Owens put it, "If a corporate company sent around a training kit instructing black people how to 'be less black,' the world would implode and lawsuits would follow."  But let's put the best possible spin on this: assume that Coke employs KKK members and neo-Nazis, knows it, and is altruistically trying to wean them from their wicked ways.

Does anyone for one moment suppose that this would actually work?  The very thought is absurd.

No, these bigoted "corporate training" courses weren't meant to combat actual racists, who no doubt have long since been identified and fired.  If they succeeded in preventing a single act of actual bona-fide genuine racism, the C-suite at Coca-Cola would be just as astonished as we would be, on the grounds that such overt behaviors were thought to be rooted out decades ago.  Anyone still working at Coke has no desire to be a conventional white-supremacist racist in any way.

If not ending racism, though, then what's the goal?  The answer is painfully obvious: Woke propaganda indoctrination is intended to create racism, simply in favor of blacks and against whites rather than the more traditional other way 'round.

The trouble is, most of America has undergone a half-century of "colorblind" indoctrination and is resistant to seeing and judging people by the color of their skins.  That's evil, most adult Americans know and believe it, and they strongly desire not to do it no matter how firmly their bosses tell them to.

But that applies to the oldsters who went to school between the late 60s and the early 00s.  They younger generation has always experienced this sort of racist propaganda and is much more inclined to go along with it, as we see from the demographic of BLM rioters.

The fact is, if ethics is being taught to adults, it is either useless or is in reality anti-ethics.  An adult has already had his moral sense formed long ago, in his church, school. institution, or the mean streets, as the case may be.  Not many people experience a profound change in ethics late in life absent a serious head injury or profound religious experience.

Most of genuine ethics stems from a handful of principles that a child can understand: "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you."  "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."  "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

It may have taken genius to formulate those words in the first place, but now that they're freely released into the world, it doesn't take much for ordinary folks to grasp them and to see their obvious worth in terms of ordering a just and desirable society.  They align with natural and intuitive moral principles that not only feel right, they are deeply embedded in our culture.

There are other cultures out there where those principles would feel equally deeply alien - Islamic culture, for instance, overtly rejects any concept that all men might be created equal, particularly when it comes to women.  Those views have centuries of habit and custom behind them, just as ours do; it would take a concerted, powerful, long-term effort to break them down.

In Turkey, Kemal Ataturk tried very hard to break down the uncivilized principles of the Islam his country inherited. And it seemed to work; through much of the 20th century, Turkey was a modernizing, secular country.  But eventually, the retrograde principles of Islam came roaring back, and Turkish women are once again enshrouded under an Islamist dictator.

In America today, we see an organized, concerted effort to break down the work of centuries of increasing equality and respect for human rights, indoctrinating people to see race first instead of last, and to judge people by the group they're an unintentional member of rather than anything they might do.  Quite literally, most corporate efforts to "build an ethical culture" are in fact efforts to build an explicitly unethical, bigoted, and biased one.

Who benefits from a world with even less morality and decency in it than previously?  Who is better off from creating an intentionally less perfect union?  And why do the plutocrats in the C-suite believe that "who" includes them?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Business.
Reader Comments

Critical Race Theory judges people by the color of their skin, not the content of their character. It's racist by definition. The people who support it are racists. Democrats, the party of slavery, secession, Jim Crow, the KKK, segregation and black voter suppression, are still judging people by the color of their skin. It's time to denounce them for it. Democrats are arguing from a position of moral inferiority.

May 7, 2021 6:17 AM

It certainly feels like Critical Race Theory is designed to do one thing....tee up reparations. On the face of it, reparations don't make much sense...why should people who were never slaves get funding from people who were never slave owners ? Most polling agrees with this. But if you can sell the idea that your very success, positive outcomes for your children and over all happiness is because you're white, maybe you can instill enough guilt to hit the jackpot. In Biden-land where a trillion $ is just an opening ante, no doubt reparations would be big and generous. Let's hope the brain wash brigade doesn't pull it off.

May 7, 2021 11:20 AM

If you are a CRT or BLM supporter, typically, you believe 100% in the rectitude of your position. You will not, and can not, be dissuaded from what your heart tells you to be true.
"Irrefutable" proof of your hypocrisy, illogic and racism will have absolutely no effect on your position, except to strengthen it. It's
identity politics on steroids, and it won't be going away any time soon. As long as conservatives insist on employing logic, facts and real life consequences, not to mention history, this wagon is headed over the cliff.
Wish there were a reasonable solution, but all of the differences have reached the unreconcilable point.
Only long term salvation is education....but look who's in charge.
Have a nice day, and thanks, as always, for a very thoughtful piece.

May 7, 2021 2:37 PM

The company I work for instituted mandatory "culture" training for every employee, no exceptions.
Two days worth of training.
I asked "who put the ""cult"" in the culture training.
Usual how-to-be-a-human-being training but this time, top management has to act like they embrace it and have been assimilated.
Lucky for me I wore an aluminum foil head covering to prevent them from reading my mind just like in the movie Signs with Mel Gibson.

May 8, 2021 11:02 PM

Petrarch, what a concise, insightful analysis of what this stuff is really about!

June 3, 2021 11:02 PM
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