Posted on February 14, 2024

Diversity Training Increases Prejudice and ‘Activates Bigotry’ Among Participants, New Study Says

Lee Harding, Epoch Times, February 13, 2024

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training is divisive and counter-productive and can even serve to increase prejudice among participants, a new study by a Canadian professor says.

David Haskell released his study for the Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy on Feb. 12. The social scientist and associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University says DEI training does more harm than good and calls his findings a “reality check.”

“A growing number of high-profile cases suggest that diversity workshops and their supporting materials regularly promote questionable claims—particularly about the overarching, malicious character of the majority population. Similarly, hostility toward those who challenge DEI claims is part of the pattern,” Mr. Haskell wrote.


In an extreme example, Richard Bilkszto, a 60-year-old Toronto District School Board principal who had challenged DEI claims, took his own life on July 13, 2023. His lawyer, Lisa Bildy, suggested that harassment he received following DEI training in 2021 directly contributed to his death. {snip}

Claims that Canada and other Western countries are “systemically racist” are not borne out by a statistical analysis of “differences in outcomes,” Mr. Haskell’s paper states. It cites foundation colleague Matthew Lau, who wrote: “The data on disparities in income, educational attainment, occupational outcomes, and public school test scores show that, on average, Asians are doing better than the white population.”

The paper also argues that the purported positive results of DEI training are as questionable as its premise and that a focus on “implicit bias, white privilege, and micro-aggressions” do not foster harmony.


In an annual review of psychology published in 2022, U.S. research psychologists Patricia Devine and Tory Ash criticized DEI proponents’ “proxy measures for success that are far removed from the types of consequential outcomes that reflect the purported goals of such trainings.”

The authors concluded, “Implementation of DT [diversity training] has clearly outpaced the available evidence that such programs are effective in achieving their goals.”


Numerous systemic reviews and meta-analyses reviewed by Mr. Haskell similarly found that positive results from DEI training are “undetectable or negligible.”

In their annual review of psychology published in 2009, then-Harvard professor Elizabeth Paluck and then-Yale professor Donald Green examined 985 studies and found, “Due to weaknesses in the internal and external validity of existing research, the literature does not reveal whether, when, and why interventions reduce prejudice in the world.”


Mr. Haskell said the harms of DEI are more clear than its benefits.

“DEI instruction has been shown to increase prejudice and activate bigotry among participants by bringing existing stereotypes to the top of their minds or by implanting new biases they had not previously held,” he wrote.

In 2018, Harvard sociologist Frank Dobbin and colleague Alexandra Kalev published “Why Doesn’t Diversity Training Work? The Challenge for Industry and Academia” in the journal Anthropology Now.

“Hundreds of studies dating back to the 1930s suggest that anti-bias training doesn’t reduce bias, alter behaviour or change the workplace,” the authors wrote. {snip}


Mr. Haskell said DEI training can create a sense of “isolation and demoralization” in people belonging to the “dominant culture” because they are depicted as “fundamentally depraved (racist, sexist, sadistic, etc.)” while other groups are depicted “as important and worthwhile.”

In a 2020 study, Musa al-Gharbi, a sociologist and assistant professor at New York-based Stony Brook University, found that this “clear double-standard” leads many from the dominant group to “walk away from the training believing that themselves, their culture, their perspectives and interest are not valued at the institution.”

“The training also leads many to believe that they have to ‘walk on eggshells’ when engaging with members of minority populations,” he wrote. “As a result, members of the dominant group become less likely to try to build relationships or collaborate with people from minority populations.”

Erin Cooley, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at New York-based Colgate University, found in a 2019 paper that among social liberals, learning about white privilege “reduces sympathy, increases blame, and decreases external attributions for White people struggling with poverty.”