The Diversity Industry

Posted on December 17, 2020


An article in the WSJ’s Nov. 20, 2020 edition caught my attention: “The Duo That Defeated the ‘Diversity Industry.’” It was written by Ward Connerly, 81, a black Louisiana native  and Wenyuan Wu, 33. Connerly has spent “the past quarter-century campaigning against racial preferences,” and Wu “is a Chinese immigrant who has recently become an activist opposed to anti-Asian discrimination in higher education.”

They are an unlikely pair who joined and led “the team that vanquished California’s progressive elite on Nov. 3, when Proposition 16—a ballot referendum that would have reinstated racial preference by state and local government agencies, including universities—was defeated.”

But that’s not exactly what caught my attention. While many of us think of California as being led by left-wing idealogues (think Kamala) and octogenarian, authoritarian dictators (think Nancy), these two, Connerly and Wu, caught the spirit of a new movement that ultimately embraces some of our traditional principles especially the one of equality. Or, they have raised equality back to where it belongs in the pantheon of principles that we esteem as central to our political culture and heritage, like liberty, freedom, and the vote for example.

I have argued occasionally that the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement has skewered the playing field to favor artificially those not qualified by entrance exams and other standard measures to be admitted. DEI favors race, sexual preferences, ethnic group or other identification never meant to replace intelligence, accomplishments and preparation in the admissions process.

Much of DEI thinking is based on the premise that our nation has been afflicted by “systemic racism” since 1619 when the first African slaves were introduced into the young colony. Or in other words, the racism implied by African slaves in our midst, and then their descendants for the next 400 years has been the reigning principle in the political, social, and economic structures of our country. We are “captives” of our white racism against blacks and cannot escape it.

The whole 1619 Project, backed especially by the New York Times, has been debunked by distinguished historians as based on bad history and fraudulent assumption. “Systemic racism” has not replaced the founding principles of the nation, such as liberty, equality, freedom, the rule of law, the vote, and others you can easily name.

But it has driven those who want to promote a social program where all—regardless of color, ethnicity, race, gender, etc.–are privileged by law to enjoy everything our world has to offer based on who they are, not what they do. That is the essential driving principle of their mantra, given the somewhat deceiving label of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Thinking blacks for example don’t want special attention or gifts or the lure of  affirmative action because they are black. They want to be treated as citizens with all the rights—and obligations—as citizens, not as blacks. The same goes for thinking Asian Americans or Hispanic Americans for example.

When government and progressive and socialist ideologues intercede and claim that gender or race for example merit special attention to make things “right” because of “systemic racism” the argument is going against the very core of our nation’s devotion to equality and liberty. No one should be deprived of their rights as citizens, as described in such foundational documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but, conversely, after the playing field is leveled, all should be judged not by their color or gender, etc. but by what they do with gifts given to them by the founding documents and by God in his providence as well.

In fact we all have a right and obligation to learn, to compete, to challenge our senses and our brains, to play on the same field. Who do Nick Saban and his coaches recruit? A percentage of blacks, or of Asian Americans (a Hawaiian or two helps) or Hispanics to round out a representative example of the population distribution in our country? Or who can kick and pass, block, and tackle, who shows he has what it takes, no matter what the color of his skin, where he might worship, who he dates.

When the state, like the State of California (Proposition 16, you can look it up) steps in and mandates that you admit a certain percentage of blacks for example into their state colleges and universities, you have bought into the “systemic racism” argument, ignoring the last 100 years of our history during which segregation was abolished, Jim Crow laws were ended, and after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, for all intents and purposes the playing field was leveled.

Having done so, we have in fact opened our society, opened competition for example in the economic realm, opened the schools where segregation until 1954 was legal, opened it to all. To continue to push for the special needs of certain minority groups, such as blacks and Hispanics (many of whom themselves have African roots to complicate the issues a bit) when the culture is now basically open is to promote a progressivism that smacks of socialism which demands that the State, or government, impose equality on all since those who run socialist/communist governments know what is best for the people.

In fact, as the arguments made by Connerly and Wu make clear, today all want the freedom and liberty in which all compete in the world we live in, from education to employment. To favor certain minorities, all the way from a very diverse black and/or Hispanic community, through programs such as diversity, equity and inclusion creates a “diversity industry” (their words not mine) that crushes individual initiative and creativity or work that should be the right of all.

If you are curious as to how the University of Alabama embraces, DEI, I would suggest navigating to their web page, and open their View Events page under November Programming.

If you opt instead for academic excellence as the standard, I suggest UA rethink its priorities. Appoint a major Commission for the 21st Century to study and recommend how higher education should be structured and priorities and criteria defined for the next generation of learners, not simply in the traditional liberal arts (everything from English to Computer Sciences) but also for those being credentialed and going directly into the work force. Much to ponder in that area.

Or to argue it a bit differently. We all favor the “level playing field.” What progressives, socialists and ultimately communists demand is not simply a level playing field, they want all the players to be the same on the field, regardless of who they are by what they have done in their lives. DEI does not promote the ideal that excellence should be the reigning principle of higher education. Everyone on the playing field—coaches, cheerleaders, flute players quarterbacks, let’s throw in 100,000 fans in the stands—are the same.

That’s not what God created. That’s not what the Founding Fathers created. We all are gifted differently, we all have the same liberties, we all struggle and sometimes rise and sometimes fall based on our talents and how we use them. Reject the “diversity industry” when it shows up in your backyard. Surprise, California may have it right this time.

[1]Very first draft!