Tablet just published a piece by Bari Weiss titled simply “End DEI.” Weiss’s argument is fairly simple: DEI isn’t about fairness it’s about power.
In theory, all three of these words represent noble causes. They are in fact all causes to which American Jews in particular have long been devoted, both individually and collectively. But in reality, these words are now metaphors for an ideological movement bent on recategorizing every American not as an individual, but as an avatar of an identity group, his or her behavior prejudged accordingly, setting all of us up in a kind of zero-sum game…
But “DEI” is not about the words it uses as camouflage. DEI is about arrogating power.
And the movement that is gathering all this power does not like America or liberalism. It does not believe that America is a good country—at least no better than China or Iran. It calls itself progressive, but it does not believe in progress; it is explicitly anti-growth. It claims to promote “equity,” but its answer to the challenge of teaching math or reading to disadvantaged children is to eliminate math and reading tests. It demonizes hard work, merit, family, and the dignity of the individual.
An ideology that pathologizes these fundamental human virtues is one that seeks to undermine what makes America exceptional.
The idea that now would be a good time to put an end to DEI doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Earlier this year there were reports that corporate DEI was being phased out as time passed from the summer of 2020.
DEI roles increased by 55% following demands for broader racial equity and justice after Floyd’s murder, the Society for Human Resource Management reported in 2020. But instead of creating fair opportunities and a comfortable work culture for Black employees, a pair of recent reports indicate, DEI professionals are losing their jobs, as layoffs across the economy have gained momentum.
The attrition rate for DEI roles was 33% at the end of 2022, compared to 21% for non-DEI roles. Amazon, Applebees and Twitter lead the way with DEI layoffs since July 2022, according to Revelio Labs, a New York-based company that uses data to analyze workforce dynamics and trends.
And a report by the NY Times in the spring suggested that even for those corporate DEI offices that remained the core idea was being reworked into something less extreme.
Now, nearly three years since that moment, some companies are amending their approach to D.E.I., even renaming their departments to include “belonging.” It’s the age of D.E.I.-B…
“Belonging is a way to help people who aren’t marginalized feel like they’re part of the conversation,” said Stephanie Creary, assistant professor of management at the Wharton School of Business who studies corporate strategies for diversity and inclusion…
Last year, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted its first survey on corporate belonging. Seventy-six percent of respondents said their organization prioritized belonging as part of its D.E.I. strategy and 64 percent said they planned to invest more in belonging initiatives this year.
Like the other terms, belonging sounds pretty anodyne, but in practice it means stripping out some of the overt anti-whiteness and anti-maleness from the DEI agenda. The problem, for DEI administrators, is that anti-whiteness and anti-maleness are pretty fundamental to what DEI is. Making DEI welcoming to white men creates a kind of revolution without any teeth. It’s left-wing extremist that has been watered down.
And then there are the lawsuits against California Community Colleges, big cities and big corporations. To sum all of this up, there’s a good argument to be made that DEI is already under pressure in many places and seems to be faltering on its own. All it needs now is another push toward irrelevance. And really that shouldn’t be terribly hard to do because the evidence DEI does more harm than good is pretty thin to start with.
Of course the true believers in academia and the people making a living off this grift won’t give it up those big dollar speaking gigs willingly. But if we continue to take away their power and credibility the money that supports them will evaporate as well.