July 24, 2023

Good News: DEI Is Falling Out of Favor

Getting rid of leftist discrimination is a great start for companies seeking to treat people well.

When something sounds really good but is actually really bad, arguing against it can be especially tricky. Such is the case with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Every one of those words, based on its original meaning, is good and desirable. Certainly no one wants to oppress anyone else, and we all want our fellow Americans — of every color — to succeed and thrive. Then what’s wrong with DEI?

To put it simply, the Left is using DEI as a method for pushing Marxist ethics into every facet of life. First, divide people between oppressor and oppressed, and then do everything possible to turn the tables. Anyone who favors and defends Judeo-Christian values or meritocracy is a bigot and ipso facto an oppressor.

The caterwauling after the Supreme Court’s decision in June to mostly block the use of racial discrimination in college admissions is telling. Remember the essence of that case: Harvard University was favoring blacks in admissions at the expense of whites and people of Asian extraction.

Again, wanting blacks to attend Harvard or otherwise succeed in the marketplace is good. Forcing the issue at the expense of other sometimes more qualified people solely on the basis of race is wrong.

Well, that Court ruling is already having consequences in academia. Universities around the country are carefully evaluating not just admissions practices but the scores of DEI positions among their staff.

We could also point to the “resignation” of Tirien Steinbach as associate DEI dean at Stanford Law School as an example. Back in March, she joined the mob heckling and harassing Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan. After justifiable opposition to that disgraceful behavior, she was forced out.

It’s not just academia, though. Earlier this month, our Douglas Andrews explored how the SCOTUS ruling would impact the workplace writ large. After all, this author had previously highlighted the lucrative DEI industry — the astounding explosion of hiring for DEI positions and graduates over the last few years.

Corporate America is already well aware of how the Court’s ruling may provide a template for others to knock down the regime of racial preferences that were set up to advance anyone but whites. Again, the essence of DEI is exactly that kind of discrimination.

If CEOs weren’t thinking strategically, 13 Republican state attorneys general just sent a letter to all Fortune 100 companies “to remind [them] of [their] obligations as … employer(s) under federal and state law to refrain from discriminating on the basis of race, whether under the label of ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’ or otherwise.”

Unfortunately, 21 Democrat AGs also wrote a letter to the same CEOs. “We write to reassure you that corporate efforts to recruit diverse workforces and create inclusive work environments are legal and reduce corporate risk for claims of discrimination,” they wrote. “In fact, businesses should double-down on diversity-focused programs because there is still much more work to be done.”

Many in corporate boardrooms have no doubt been shouting expletives and indeed doubling down in response to the blowback against DEI and anything woke in their branding or marketing. They are true believers who, like that infamous former Bud Light marketing lady, don’t want supposedly ignorant rubes as customers, favoring instead a new, more enlightened customer (read: sufficiently indoctrinated left-winger) who will help usher in a utopia of a needed racial reckoning.

Others, however, are likely breathing a huge sigh of relief. As the post-George Floyd DEI fad took off, many corporate leaders felt they had no choice but to acquiesce to the diversity mob. They now have some legal justification for pushing back against DEI initiatives, which are both expensive to implement and often result in having either subpar or demotivated employees, not to mention consumer opposition.

Either way, a shift is coming. “Companies including Netflix, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery have recently said that high-profile diversity, equity and inclusion executives will be leaving their jobs,” The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. “Thousands of diversity-focused workers have been laid off since last year, and some companies are scaling back racial justice commitments.”

Reasons for this include not just the Court ruling but “the tech sector’s shake out last fall,” as well as successful boycotts of woke products.

To that last point, corporate spending on such initiatives rarely helps the bottom line. The Journal says “chief diversity officers [CDOs] have been more vulnerable to layoffs than their human resources counterparts, experiencing 40% higher turnover.” Hiring is also down: “The number of CDO searches is down 75% in the past year.”

Translation: If you’re not helping a company make money — or worse, are causing a collapse in sales — your position is going to be on the chopping block.

That may not be “inclusion,” but it sure is “equity.”

Every company in this great nation should make an effort, first and foremost, to remember that employees are people. In most cases, discrimination in the name of profit or ideology is wrong. (We say “most” because, for example, a Christian organization shouldn’t have to hire a Satanist.) A lot of good can be accomplished by looking for hidden talent among the less fortunate. Every company should strive to take care of people equally.

Treat people well and things have a way of working out. Ditching DEI is a great start.


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