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Denver's Diversity Training's Got the White Stuff

How to build a better teaching video.

First of all, City and County of Denver, I want to thank you for coming to me in this, your hour of need. Okay, okay, so it was actually the Diversity Advisory Committee (the less-fun DAC) of the separate Career Service Authority that made the impossibly awful diversity training video, but let's face it, you showed the video to all city employees, so this shit's on you. City and County of Denver, seeking me out for help shows a maturity and sophistication that this most recent gaffe completely lacked. It's no secret that we haven't gotten along all that well in the past — what with your awful traffic and your museums' inability to bring in any shows remotely worth seeing (nice score with that Louvre show, when all the DAM got was boring paintings of kings and fruit. How do you say "punked" in French?) — but I'm glad you're big enough to put all of that behind you and approach me, hat in hand, fully aware that I, and I alone, can fix what's broken.

I'm going to treat you like a puppy, City and County of Denver, and rub your nose in the mess you made until you're fully aware of it. You used a video called "Laughing Matters — Think About It" to instruct your employees on how making fun of others diminishes respect for co-workers. Unfortunately, this video is so stupid and awful that it caused a stir among employees not bored enough to just sit there and endure it. The video stars a character named Billy, a white guy dressed in blue-collar, workingman attire who's an insensitive, racist, sexist prick and putters about the office saying offensive, inappropriate bullshit.

For example, in one scene, a woman in some sort of secretarial position is talking on the phone in Spanish to someone named Carlos. She gets off the phone and informs Billy that Carlos needs some supplies at the work site, and that he can't do anything until those supplies arrive. To which Billy says something to the effect of, "What's the matter — he can't make breakfast burritos without his supplies, so he takes a siesta?"

Okay, okay, City and County of Denver, I'm beginning to see why some people may have taken offense at this video: It's inaccurate and incomplete. Sure, all Hispanic people make breakfast burritos and take siestas, but nowhere in this video does it mention they all also steal. A more thorough diversity-training video would have had Billy say something to the effect of, "Why doesn't he just steal some supplies to make his breakfast burritos? Because everyone knows those people steal."

Bam. That's a thorough job. What's that you're saying, City and County of Denver? Spit those Funyuns out of your mouth — I can't understand you when you speak with your mouth full. You say that people complained because it's a white guy who's the buffoon of the whole video, and that no other races or genders are portrayed as insensitive? You say that people are insisting that if it was a black man or a Hispanic woman spouting such inanities, everyone would be up in arms with the NAACP and ACLU calling in and all that? So people are wondering why it's okay to throw a white guy under the bus as the source of all things offensive in a training video for city employees. Well, that's a stupid-ass complaint, City and County of Denver. That's our burden as white males. For years, we have been the majority — not the minority — so as a result, we have to let ourselves be painted as the villainous jackasses in these situations. In return, we're richer and we get to live longer.

Now, then, back to the inaccuracies. In another scene, Billy watches a chunky co-worker ponder her decision at the vending machine. This fatty points out to Billy that everything she desires is fattening, whereupon Billy says, "As long as the fat stays in the right places, you'll still have the guys chasing you." But, Billy, what places are you talking about? The triceps? So that the fat swallows her elbows like those women you see on motorized carts at the supermarket? I doubt it. What Billy should have said is, "As long as that fat goes to that fine ass, I'd still hit that shit. Damn, girl, I'd smack that out the park." And then the viewer would better understand.

Those are really the only things that I found wrong on that little video, City and County of Denver. Fix those snafus and everything ought to be good to go. City employees will better understand what they can and can't do, and sensitivity in the workplace shall reign. Now, if we could just work out the small matter of my $9,000 consulting fee, I'll be on my way.

 
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