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Why Diversity & Inclusion Training is Necessary

What is Diversity & Inclusion Training

Dena Samuels, PhD

Effective diversity & inclusion training allows organizations, corporations, campuses and schools to mindfully reflect on their own attitudes, biases, and behavior in a compassionate, supportive atmosphere and to learn specific strategies for building culturally inclusive environments where every member feels like they belong. Being part of an inclusive community allows each member to bring their whole selves into their work, creating more robust solutions for problem-solving and innovation.

Why Police Agencies Need Diversity & Inclusion Training

As the NeuroLeadership Institute likes to state, “If you have a brain, you’re biased.” That means that all humans acquire biases along the way. Bias simply means preference. What we are biased about may change from culture to culture, but the fact that we have bias is a human trait. Not all bias is problematic. Your lunch preference, for example, is not likely to change someone else’s life. Where bias becomes problematic is when we are making decisions about another person that can forever change their life: who gets hired, who gets fired, who gets pulled over, who gets arrested, who may not make it out of an altercation with the police. What implicit bias training seeks to do (with a skilled, knowledgeable, experienced facilitator) is to allow us to reflect on our own biases without blame or shame, but rather with compassion. Once we know what our biases are, we can learn skills for minimizing them, especially when important, life or death decisions are made.

How Diversity & Inclusion Training Supports Community Policing

We believe that if we are “nice” to everyone, that we are behaving in a culturally inclusive manner. Turns out, being nice just isn’t enough to build relationships across social differences. We need to learn about what we don’t know we don’t know. We need to continue to learn about others’ experiences. We need police out in the communities getting to know the people they are policing. But going out to the community and just being “nice” is not enough. Trainings around social identities, perspective-taking, implicit/unconscious bias, minimizing microaggressions and building cultural inclusion are critically important to the effectiveness and ultimate success of first responders.