As companies aggressively lay off workers and cut costs, a survey released last month revealed that company events and bonuses are cut first, followed by diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. DEI job listings fell by a fifth last year and the woke collapse is accelerating.
That’s been the conclusion of other surveys and firms describing a corporate environment where DEI’s wokeness programs are the “first to go”.
Only 5% of recruiters say that DEI is a priority.
Corporate racism is collateral damage in HR cuts. 55% of HR departments surveyed were already cut or expected to have their budgets slashed. And DEI is the mask that HR wears.
Layoffs in the tech industry disproportionately affected white women, not because of sexism, but because companies under pressure were shedding the most expendable roles: primarily HR. Some companies like Twilio announced that they would be firing workers based on race. Or, as CEO Jeff Lawson put it, layoffs “were carried out through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens.”
Mostly though companies were jettisoning dead weight regardless of race or level of wokeness.
Facebook dumped its special training program for HR managers who focus on diversity and fired everyone in it. To add insult to injury, Facebook offered them much less severance pay than other workers. Amazon dumped a good deal of its DEI personnel as part of an HR purge.
Layoffs tend to hit human resources where the invasive species of diversity consultants had built its nests. Corporate human resources departments had transformed private sector racism into a booming business, but it’s a business that rises and falls with social and economic trends.
Diversity spending had been declining during the pandemic. Mainline companies struggling with a challenging economic environment had less resources to throw at diversity seminars.
The race riots that burned cities and cost countless lives also helped make the agitators who had poured ideological gasoline on the fires of race very wealthy. Ibram X. Kendi, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robin DiAngelo and other professional racists ushered in an intellectual rebrand of diversity, which had become as stodgy as HR, into the exciting new era of anti-racism.
While Black Lives Matter leaders and influencers like Kendi charged massive speaking fees, a legion of identity politics studies grads and diversity consultants began quietly cashing in. The nation’s workhouse businesses had limited resources, but the massive corporations, especially in the tech industry, were glutted with pandemic cash and eager to virtue signal.
Big Tech monopolies, stuffed with the ill-gotten gains of the lockdown, invested heavily in DEI. So did most of the tech industry. Inflation has led to a rash of cost-cutting among those same tech companies as investors are no longer as casual about throwing more good money after bad. DEI is seeing the third highest fall in job offers after tech careers because its rise was heavily dependent on a tech industry boom. Now the parasite is suffering along with the host.
DEI brought academic racism of the critical race theory variety into corporate boardrooms, but another way to look at it is as a way for HR professionals, many of them white women, to elevate their roles or spin off booming businesses. Manufacturing a racism crisis destroyed a lot of lives but, as is often the case, made a small group of people successful and wealthy.
HR professionals are frantically struggling to survive the waves of layoffs by using DEI and black people as human shields. HR associations and organizations put out fake numbers insisting that most employees won’t take jobs or will even leave jobs at companies that don’t prioritize DEI. If HR people claimed that employees wouldn’t work at companies without bigger HR departments, the C-suite would laugh in their faces, but a fake racism crisis covers a multitude of sins.
Embedding critical race theory into corporations was lubricated by lies and misleading statistics. Corporate leaders and investors were told that workers were desperate for DEI (and those who weren’t were fired), that diverse workforces adapt better to change and that diverse companies outperform less diverse ones. And that customers would only buy from companies that reflected their values. When all else failed, cancel culture was deployed against CEOs from within.
The trouble with HR trying to hold the C-suite hostage with BLM is that pressure by investors to produce cuts is now scaring CEOs more than cancel culture. And a growing backlash by conservative leaders, especially by Gov. Ron DeSantis humbling Disney, has made them wary. That’s why there’s been a marked decline in CEO statements on the woke outrage of the day.
While corporate investments in diversity have dropped, they’re still far above what they were before the Black Lives Matter movement, with Fortune 500 backing and millions in funding, torched American cities, murdered police officers and robbed small business owners.
The diversity business has its ups and downs. Marxism is a luxury product and there’s less of a budget for virtue signaling now at the FAANG gang, the tech industry and a lot of big corps. Corporations embrace causes to refresh their brands, but DEI has become stale. There’s only so many times you can invite Ibram X. Kendi to intone about anti-racism at a mandatory C-suite Zoom seminar before everyone realizes that the leadership has no new ideas and no plan.
In tough times, the multinationals that went big on wokeness are assuring investors that they’re cutting back. The new wave of incoming CEOs are middle aged white geeks with a penchant for numbers and responsible leadership. The ad campaigns are still woke and ESG investing is an economic disease that is destroying pension value and undermining our economy, but corporate racism is becoming as outdated an artifact of 2020 as workplace mask mandates.
The Biden administration is aggressively pushing equity, but the companies shipwrecked by his economy have less time to meditate on their unconscious biases and promise “to do better”.
Wokeness, like the Biden administration, has gone broke. And America has gone broke with it.
DEI will be rebranded, reborn in the blood of more race riots and viral cancellations, but for now it’s withering as companies tighten belts and look for new shiny objects to distract investors.
Like AI. What happens if you combine DEI and AI?
DEI.AI offers “an AI-powered Diversity, Equity and Inclusion assistant” that you can ask to “help you better understand the landscape of DE&I”. No more “unpaid emotional labor” of explaining why all white people are racist. Now there’s an app to tell you exactly how racist you are.
A DEI app costs a whole lot less than a DEI department. And DEI dogma is easily automated.
There’s even a browser add-on that will scan your emails and “detect problematic language” like “grandfathered”. What could better embody diversity than replacing black people with software?
DEI, once exciting, is now just another formula, a set of tired rules that overlap all the others embedded in corporate and government workplaces that everyone is learning to ignore. And, like any other formula, the work of yelling at white people can be outsourced to software.
Mo de Profit says
“ The ad campaigns are still woke and ESG investing is an economic disease that is destroying pension value”
This is deliberately designed to redistribute wealth from the old to the young as the wealthy woke assuage their guilt caused by earning millions through lies and luck rather than hard work and talent. Bill Gates, Soros, Zuckerberg et al.
Great article though, a little good news at last.
Let’s stop participating in the psyop and propaganda campaigns of the satanic left wing. The acronym is not DEI, it’s DIE. Similarly, the color red is for commies and blue is for conservatives. The right side has already lost the argument when they stupidly allow the left wing to set the terms of any debate.
The problem (or good thing) was that people weren’t taking the woke app seriously. With the chat automated ai, now you have that without it being obvious.
In our last employee feedback session I suggested “Cutting back on the Department of Imaginary Pronouns and hire more people to do the actual work that serves our customers and brings in revenue.”
Daniel Greenfield says
Focusing on revenue? In a business?
What a fantastical notion!
When I began my work career at the tender age of 14 – yes 14 – all the departments responsible for hiring were called PERSONNEL DEPARTMENTS! They did the HIRING for a business based on the NEEDS OF THE BUSINESS and the QUALIFICATIONS of the APPLICANTS! The MANAGERS did the rest! They trained people. They MANAGED people. They FIRED people for whatever reason. They were respected in their companies and communities! Life was rather simple – you have a JOB TO DO and as long as you DO YOUR JOB , you HAVE A JOB! Then came HUMAN RESOURCES! It seemed like they took over the companies with their “rules and regulations and quotas and fweelings”!! The company where I was a Controller and retired with glee became an HR Wonderland! If enough WOKE CEO’s and MANAGERS in HR/DEI lose their jobs and businesses run BETTER and more PROFITABLY then maybe someone will sit back and go “hmmm”!!!
Daniel Greenfield says
One would hope.
HR also grew in response to the relentless onslaught of government regulations. It became a way to avoid legal exposure from endless possible lawsuits while offering little of value to companies.
It’s Marxism at its finest. Human beings (Personnel) are but mere chattel, a resource to be used. The elites laughed out loud when they came up with this one. They started telling us how they really feel about us when Personnel were changed to Human Resources.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Some good news for a change.
“It’s been a long time coming …”
Go Woke….Go Broke…..at least in the real world including corporate America. They have shareholders and bottom lines.
But in government? They have ESG and DEI and LGBT freaks at every level, including our military. The Jose Dementio admin is the most woke Government disaster in history. That doesn’t change until normal people are elected and the crazy people, as Sarah Huckabee called them, are booted out and policy changes.
And to do that Republicans are going to have to finally get serious about election fraud.
Daniel Greenfield says
It doesn’t change until Republicans walk into government with a Day 1 plan for rooting this stuff out and with putting in the personnel at every level who are going to carry out that plan.
Everything else, as we’ve seen, is just talk.
The purpose of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. The corporation does this by providing desirable goods and services to the public, and the money comes from a public that wants these goods and services. It’s really that simple, though of course many economics textbooks have been written to make it complicated. The color or sex or sexual preference of the workforce should be irrelevant to the corporation and have no impact on the corporation’s bottom line. If it has a negative impact then those employees are best jettisoned. Again, it’s that simple.
Daniel Greenfield says
True, but the Left wants to base everything on tribalism so companies are supposed to appeal to people based on their group and ‘values’, and not to them as individuals.
Sarah Huckabee nailed it. Employers need to tell prospective employees to leave their woke flags and idols at the door or go somewhere else. The workplace is not a haven for political ideologies that undermine the cohesion necessary to provide goods and services.
DEI leads to an incompetent government and destroys business competitiveness. . Jean Pierre (gay and black) is just another example of the kind of incompetence you get when you hire people based on their “identity” instead of their qualifications and merit. Like the first woman and sorta black VP, Kamala Harris and then Pete Buttigieg as the incompetent gay Transportation Secretary who spent the first couple of months “on the job” at home on paternity leave. Then of course, there’s the transgender Rachel Levine, the fake Admiral as “the highest ranking officer” in the Department of Health and Human Services who thinks that it’s OK to physically mutilate and chemically castrate children in the name of “gender affirmation”. And, oh yeah, the ‘non-binary” drag queen in charge of our nation’s nuclear waste disposal who was just fired for stealing women’s underwear out of airport luggage. It’s beyond comical and insane, it’s abhorrent and disgusting and the end result of the Democrat’s mantra of “Diversity (anti-white), Equity (equal outcomes/Socialism) and Inclusion (Trans rights first) that is destroying the American foundational principle of the U.S. as a Meritocracy and is making us a laughing stock around the world.
Tex the Mockingbird says
Woke and Broke and they brought it on themselves
John Blackman says
you can only hope the current batch of robespierres get what they advocate for all those who don’t toe the line with americas insanity .
Algorithmic Analyst says
There has to be some way for the organization to eliminate the deadwood, in order for the organization to make a profit and survive.
In a perfect world, yes.
Christopher Hicks says
Hi, Daniel, love your work.
Daniel Greenfield says