One of the ways the news media and factcheckers confuse the public rather than enlightening them is their well-developed penchant for complicating an issue beyond comprehension so normal people just shrug and say, “I don’t have time for this: the sock drawer beckons.” This strategy allows all sorts of unethical conduct to fly under the radar. A recent example has been the controversy over Coca-Cola’s corporate diversity training, a current obsession of the rightish media which I admit that I skipped when I saw the first of the Powerpoint slides above. I saw it, and concluded that it could not possibly be part of an official major corporation’s diversity course despite what I was being told so I and any other woke-averse Americans would become livid. As it happens, I was right, but that misses the real issue.
The real issue is that with or without that slide and the equally racist one below it, Coca-Cola is forcing its employees to be subjected to view-point and ideology indoctrination as a condition of working there. Such attempted corporate brainwashing and mandated belief trainings are unethical, one of many oppressive and totalitarianism-supporting practices that have slithered out of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck and The Great Stupid. The practice needs to be strongly and decisively opposed by anyone who believes in the core value of personal liberty. It doesn’t matter if Coke’s brainwashing literally tells employees that they should be “less white.” That it tries to tell employees how and what to think is bad enough.
The issue was brought to my attention by appropriately screen-named commenter Junkmailfolder, who pointed me to the Scopes “factcheck” of the carefully composed statement, “Coca-Cola’s diversity, equity, and inclusion training contained slides which read ‘Try to be less white.'” This is exactly the sort of obfuscation that I referred to. It’s a lawyer-style device, like the questions law students are trained to use in their appellate briefs. Such questions are phrased in terms that make the particular answers the advocate seeks unavoidable. Here’s the right question: Does Coke’s diversity training suggest that white employees are inherently biased, bigoted against minorities and need to be, as the ghostly and murderous Mr. Grady tells Jack Torrence in the Overlook Hotel’s Men’s Room, “corrected”? Yes.
Does the Coca-Cola training officially employ the slides above? No, but it still deliberately leads employees in its training to the video that includes those slides, which are only perilously unsubtle expressions of what the company’s official diversity training does attempt to drill into its employees heads.
Snopes has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is not the objective truth-seeker that it pretends to be, which is why I stopped reading it, using it, or trusting it. The organization has a partisan and ideological agenda, as shown by its choice of “facts” to check, and by its manner of manipulating its verdicts. The fact that its factchecks aren’t always wrong, deceptive, misleading or biased doesn’t mitigate this; it makes the problem worse. The intermittent fair and accurate posts suck in readers so Snopes can deceive them later. I suspect this is a deliberate strategy.
In this case, while denying that there is evidence that those racist slides above are in the official Coke diversity training course, Snopes buries this key information about 20 paragraphs into its article (which I refuse to link to, since the site is a blight on ethics):
We asked Coca-Cola to provide details of the company’s “diversity, equity and inclusion training.” A company spokesperson did not provide a comprehensive curriculum, but did provide Snopes several examples of topics included as required viewing. Each of the following items appears to match individual videos available through the LinkedIn Learning platform:
- Fundamentals of an inclusive mindset
- Six steps to inclusive conversations
- What is unconscious bias?
- The impact of bias
- Practices and applications for brave allyship.
It is on that platform, to which those links lead, that a user can “access” the racist course peddled by Robin DiAngelo, the author of “White Fragility.” Is that Coke’s intent? Maybe. Does it matter? No! It doesn’t matter what slides and jargon are used to demand that employees “fight racism” or anything else, good or bad, right or wrong. Such mandatory trainings are an abuse of power, and worse, an abuse of power in furtherance of ideological conformity. Citizens in a free country have a right to their beliefs and to think what they think. If they want other ideas to mull, it is their choice. All mandatory trainings that deal with belief systems and personal, private beliefs and conduct are sinister and anti-democratic by nature. All of them…and if their Powerpoint slides are not as obnoxious as the ones above, it doesn’t change what they are. Employers do not have the right to demand what religion you follow, what party you vote for, what charities you support, what teams you root for, who you like, what conduct you dislike, or anything else outside of the narrow range of what is expected of your comportment and performance in the workplace.
Coke’s employees and those of other corporations that have enlisted in a menacing campaign of cultural indoctrination need to be given the support and tools necessary to resist this dangerous trend. It is a breach of autonomy; it is an attack on freedom of thought; it is an attack on the core mission of this nation.
It is all unethical, and it has to be stopped.