DEI has gone national. The belief that quality takes a backseat to racial bean counting wormed its way into the White House in February, when President Biden signed an executive order that promises to create a national “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” bureaucracy. As Christopher Rufo reports, the DEI diktat, “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” proposes three key strategies:
- Creating internal cadres and power centers through the deployment of “Agency Equity Teams.”
- Funding third-party political activism through grants to “community[-based] organizations.”
- Weaponizing civil rights law by requiring federal agencies to use artificial intelligence “in a manner that advances equity.”
The order prescribes that equity be “embedded… into the fabric of Federal policymaking and service delivery.” Also, this will not be a one-time project, and instead must be a multi-generational commitment, and remain the responsibility of agencies across the Federal Government.
To that end, the government will establish an “Agency Equity Team… to coordinate the implementation of equity initiatives.” Every aspect of government down to the design, development, and acquisition of artificial intelligence must advance equity.
The executive order, dripping with cultural Marxism, posits that “by advancing equity, the Federal Government can support and empower all Americans, including the many communities in America that have been underserved, discriminated against, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
The document basically suggests that if someone is poor, it is not their own doing or due to cultural failure, but rather it’s because of “systemic racism.” Lack of individual responsibility can never be blamed for one’s own failure. The Biden administration seems to be taking its marching orders from supreme race hustler Ibram X. Kendi who explains, “As an anti-racist, when I see racial disparities, I see racism.”
The advancing DEIst activity could spell disaster for the country. Even the National Institutes of Health has jumped on the DEI train. Via public records requests, John Sailer, director of university policy at the National Association of Scholars, acquired rubrics for evaluating diversity statements used by two NIH-funded programs. He reports that the South Carolina and New Mexico rubrics call for “punishing candidates who espouse race neutrality, dictating a low score for anyone who states an intention to ignore the varying backgrounds of their students and ‘treat everyone the same.’ Applicants who are skeptical of DEI programming might choose to describe their commitment to viewpoint diversity. This too runs afoul of the rubrics, which mandate a low score for any candidate who defines diversity “only in terms of different areas of study or different nationalities but doesn’t mention gender or ethnicity/race.”
Sailer also reports that the University of California, San Francisco medical school has created a document titled “Anti-Racism and Race Literacy: A Primer and Toolkit for Medical Educators,” which is filled with outrageous assertions. Racism, the guide asserts,“refers to the prioritization of the people who are considered white and the devaluation, exploitation, and exclusion of people racialized as non-white.”At the same time, anti-racism involves shifting power from those who are white to those who are black. “Anti-racism examines and disrupts the power imbalances between racialized and non-racialized people (white people), to shift power away from those who have been historically over-advantaged and towards people of color, especially black people.”
When applied to medical care, these ideals, of course, can carry weighty consequences. As was reported in January 2022, New York, Minnesota, and Utah issued guidance for allocating Covid-related monoclonal antibodies that heavily prioritized racial and ethnic minorities.
The nation’s universities are the epicenter of DEIfication. For example, the University of Central Florida has 14 separate DEI programs, all permeated with Critical Race Theory. As Christopher Rufo notes, according to the university’s official glossary, the great oppressor who occupies the “mythical norm,” is “male, white, heterosexual, financially stable, young-middle adult, able-bodied, Christian.” Other groups are “minoritized,” or condemned by the “systemic and structural realities in place that push people and communities to the margins.”
In another Sunshine State school, Florida International University, the official Language guide cooked up by DEI bureaucrats, deplores phrases like “husband,” “wife,” “mother,” “father,” “Mr.,” “Mrs.,” “she,” and “he” as “non-inclusive.” In their place, the university suggests, students should use gender-neutral substitutes such as “partner,” “spouse,” “parents,” and “caregivers,” and neologisms such as “Mx.” and “they/them” for a singular person.
In Virginia, the principal of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology outrageously concealed National Merit commended-student awards from those who had earned them in 2022. A FOIA request revealed that the school’s staffers and administrators, apparently motivated by the pursuit of equity, deliberately withheld awards, thus devaluing their worth, and deceived parents in the process.
As Asra Nomani, a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Network, writes “the awards are portals to lucrative scholarships and résumé boosters that can get them into the colleges of their choice. Withholding them amounts to theft.”
Additionally, schools all over the country are dumping their honors classes. In California, Culver City High School eliminated its honors English classes, and replaced them with “uniform courses that officials say will ensure students of all races receive an equal, rigorous education.”
The DEI horror stories are unfortunately endless. The good news is that there is emerging pushback. The College Fix reports that in February the University of Texas System suspended the launch of any new DEI programs, and initiated an investigation into current ones. “The system, which oversees 13 academic and health institutions across the state, made the announcement in the wake of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office earlier this month telling state agencies to stop using DEI policies in hiring, calling it employment discrimination that violates federal and state employment laws.”
In Florida, two bills have been introduced in the state house and senate that would “ban mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion statements in hiring and tenure as well as set up offices on campuses statewide meant to foster debates and civil discourse.”
In October 2021, Researchers Jay Greene and James Paul released the results of a study on DEI that detail many aspects of the harmful scheme. In a nutshell, the authors find DEI to be “counterproductive and politically radical.”
The part of the research that examines DEI’s effects on elementary schools is particularly damning. Looking at school districts with at least 15,000 students, of which there are 554, the study finds that schools with Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) “actually have larger gaps in achievement between black and white students, Hispanic and white students, and non-poor and poor students than districts without CDOs. And those gaps are growing wider over time. This pattern holds true even after controlling for a host of other observable characteristics of those districts.”
The authors explain that the gaps occur because CDOs “are more focused on promoting a political agenda than they are on finding effective educational interventions.” And that political agenda includes advancing policies that typically exacerbate achievement gaps, such as eliminating gifted programs and advanced math classes “while selecting English and Social Studies content for its political orthodoxy rather than educational quality.”
It’s interesting that no one seems to care about any racial disparities in certain areas, like sports. According to racial equality activist Richard Lapchick, the National Basketball Association in 2021 was composed of 73.2 percent black players, 16.8 percent white players, 3.1 percent Latino players of any race, and 0.4 percent Asian players, while 6.6 percent of the players classified as “other” races.
At the same time, over 95% of players in the National Hockey League are white.
At the end of the day, what we really need is better schools, not racial bean counting. As Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom simply stated in their 2003 book, No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning, “Creating the right academic culture does not depend on the racial backgrounds of the students who attend it.”
Final question for the DEI crowd: The next time you are trying to find a surgeon, will you pick the one who was licensed because she was the right minority, or the one who earned her position the old-fashioned way? Now substitute auto mechanic and electrician for surgeon. How do you respond? And, do you want your favorite basketball team to be comprised of players of various ethnicities and genders, or the team that had the best damned players money could buy?
I can’t wait for your response.
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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.