When I die, I’m asking for those hours back

End of Induction Week. Warwick Business School is committed to diversity, so of course the week included a lengthy diversity lecture in the very first week. It finished about twenty minutes ago, and took nearly four hours.

And when I die, I want those four hours back.

The guest presenter – an affable French chap – did a reasonable job, considering the complexity of his PowerPoint material (approximately 88,0000 slides, each festooned with a different, stupefyingly complex, and largely inpenetrable diagram.) But I can’t help feeling that all these endless nods to political correctness – understanding our differences, celebrating our cultural diversity – is having the opposite effect to the one intended.

All human difference constitutes a tiny fraction of one percent of DNA. The rest is just customs. And even these differences are relatively minor. The class is over 70% non-white non-British; there’s not much you can teach anyone here about diversity. And yet we all get along, laughing at the same things, getting over our differences with a handshake and a coffee. It’s just not a big problem for us. Or for anyone.

By constantly emphasising how very, very different we all are, isn’t the huge and sprawling diversity industry (for it is an industry, and a growing one, growing thanks to fear of the PC brigade) making the problem worse? Driving a wedge between cultures, instead of bringing them together?

On second thoughts – well, of course that’s the (unstated) intention. Driving such wedges is how the diversity industry grows. And everyone entering business is going to see a whole lot more of these PowerPoints, each one blowing up quirks of behaviour into huge, business-threatening issues, and the diversity consultants will grow fat on the back of it all.

Such presentations aren’t about diversity, really. They’re just about marketing.

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