GROUPTHINK: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics.
We live in a sound bite culture. That’s fine for the media, headlines, and tweets. But when words take on a life of their own – when they dictate our actions and define our culture, when we all march in lockstep to the same drumbeat – that’s when words spell trouble. That’s when sound bites reflect groupthink.
Take “diversity” and “inclusion,” for example. Those two words are robotically repeated over and over by the media, at companies, and at institutions all over the western world. But they’re far more than just words. It’s what the words represent that matters.
Those two words represent a viral and sweeping mandate born of extreme fanaticism. They represent a sort of mob mentality – an insidious groupthink that presents a significant long-term threat to the performance and competitiveness of our culture.
When diversity is mandated to the point where more qualified and meritorious people and vendors are passed over for jobs, promotions, and business in favor of members of a protected class, that’s when diversity actually becomes discrimination.
Likewise, when individual performance can no longer be praised because others might feel left out or less worthy, that’s when the concept of inclusion begins to erode the fundamental driving force behind personal performance and organizational meritocracy: recognition and reward.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement because you see it happening where you work, you’re certainly not alone. But when I first wrote about this in a column entitled The Evils of Groupthink and Sound Bites several year ago, it was still early days for this insidious trend. It’s far worse today.
Just today I read that Pinterest hired its first head of diversity, Candice Morgan. This is what Techcrunch had to say about the announcement:
This announcement comes shortly after Twitter hired Jeffrey Siminoff, a gay, white man to replace a white woman as the company’s head of diversity, which upset some people because he’s not black. In addition to that, he previously led diversity efforts at Apple, a company where diversity is less than ideal.
Morgan, as you can see from [her photo], is a black woman. She has ten years’ worth of experience building diverse and inclusive work environments through her work at Catalyst, so it’s safe to say that Pinterest didn’t hire Morgan simply because she is black. But, is it more acceptable to hire a black woman than a white man for a head of diversity role?
And so on. If that doesn’t constitute discrimination against white males, I don’t know what does.
Pinterest has also set hiring quotas for the percentage of women and protected minorities and implemented a rule requiring a woman and minority to be interviewed for every open leadership position. This practice has become increasingly common in Silicon Valley where tech companies are under fire for their lack of diversity.
Of course, a horde of opportunistic consulting firms and civil rights activists have descended like locusts on the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s not equality these parasites are after, mind you, but compelling The Valley’s left-leaning leaders to cough up some of their company’s profits. Think of it as hush money to keep the bullies off their backs, the PC media quiet, and their own white male guilt at bay.
The great irony is that, when it comes to protecting Americans against potential criminals and terrorists, profiling is bad. That’s when it’s OK to be colorblind. But when it comes to hiring decisions, profiling – including blatant discrimination against white males – is somehow legit. That’s when it’s not OK to be colorblind. How duplicitous can you get?
In case you’re wondering how those who employ this practice somehow get away with what appears to be a blatant violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which strictly prohibits workplace discrimination based on race, sex, creed, religion, color, or national origin – join the club.
Truth is, hiring is a zero-sum game. If companies and institutions favor women and certain minorities, that means they discriminate against white men and others not included in those protected classes. That’s discrimination. That’s against the law. And the irony is, that’s not the least bit inclusive.