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Everyone seems agog about DEI(Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)! What is this all about? The Biden Administration has an “all of government” embrace of it, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis demands the entire Florida government reject it! What is the right perspective about DEI? Since it has a ubiquitous impact, it’s time to discern whether to accept or reject it.

With the potential to impact every area of our lives, we (individually) have to understand DEI for ourselves; we need to be able to assess whether it’s excellent and helpful in encouraging diversity and unity. Or whether it is just another divisive scheme designed to create chaos and disunity.   

“Diversity is our strength” has been a well-known mantra and rallying cry for decades. The momentum and trajectory of DEI indicate that this mantra resonates strongly as it has captured hearts and minds globally. Intuitively, everyone should innately appreciate the value of purposefully designing diverse environments. If diversity of ethnicity, sex/gender, cultural background, education levels, political leanings, etc., were truly honored and various (respective) points of view embraced and respected, diversity could be a strength. But, unfortunately, honoring and respecting varied viewpoints is not what DEI initiatives are designed to deliver.

The purported purpose and emphasis of current DEI parlance are to increase the embrace of diversity (“equality”) and solidify the commitment to inclusivity. This embrace is supposed to unify environments. In practice, however, DEI is not delivering unity, it is mostly delivering chaos and disruption. Regrettably, DEI uses Marxist ideology and tactics designed to “dismantle evidence of ‘oppression,'” and uses the oppressor v. victim paradigm to make the point. Unfortunately, using divisive tactics that tacitly condemn some as being “enemies”/foes due to (immutable characteristics) like the color of their skin undermines any objective toward producing unity. On the contrary, disunity and distrust results.

The “oppressor”/” oppressed” dichotomy is not a reasonable way to create inclusive environments that embrace unity (unified workplaces). When these Marxist caricatures are infused into DEI “training,” the only predictable results are more division and distrust. Needless to say, these tactics are part of the old Marxist playbook of proletariat vs. bourgeoisie: The bourgeoisie (victimizers) are the class that controls mechanisms of power/wealth, and the proletariat (victims) are the worker class subject to the bourgeoisie. These labels were changed within DEI parlance to reflect modern culture, but they still only perpetuate Marx’s ideas for creating chaos, agitation, and aggrievement. In an ironic twist, Karx Marx’s playbook is being used to (supposedly) encourage the advancement of Blacks (primarily) and to unify environments. At the same time, Marx’s sordid history confirms he was a grotesque racist and sexist (he hated Black people and was a sex-slaving misogynist). Additionally, Marx strongly desired encouraging chaos and destruction in work environments (as a way to usher in State-run businesses and his “utopia” of communism), not unity. Perhaps the fundamental reliance on Marx (his tactics and grotesque ideologies) is why DEI has mostly failed to meet its purported objectives.

Practically speaking, any notion purporting to end “inequality” by forced hiring and promotion of people (irrespective of their skills, talents, and abilities) will always fail. Many DEI professionals advocate for this (unequal and disproportionate advancement based on skin color), but this racialized approach is undignified, produces distrust, and undermines the commitment to meritocracy. It is also illegal! Labor laws protect employees from being hired, promoted, or terminated based on race. This is quite problematic for DEI since most who embrace it tend to focus on race as the primary criteria for decision-making (i.e. hiring, promotions, etc.).  

Within free-market/capitalist societies, there is ubiquitous recognition that all people are born with unique God-given skills, talents, and abilities. Of course, these attributes are not fixed, and anyone can hone skills and abilities to become more proficient and highly advanced. The commitment to assuring equal opportunity for all and a focus on merit (meritocracy) should determine opportunities for promotion, not neo-Marxist demands to promote based on skin color.  

Everyone deserves the commitment to having equal opportunity to succeed, however, DEI encourages a focus on the Marxist trope of “equity,” and it is primarily designed to reward incompetence. Many view equity as a way to increase ethnic participation, but since it wholly belies the commitment to merit-based advancement, it mostly delivers misery, not fairness and equality. Unfortunately, many use equity as a cudgel to mete out retribution for past ills instead of ensuring opportunities for all. This is the major pitfall and paradox of the DEI paradigm. Most employers find they don’t need equity; they need unity. There is a better way!

The best way to ensure maximum participation from diverse communities and resolve the DEI paradox (“equity” vs. unity) is to redouble efforts to incorporate sincere approaches that ensure “equal opportunity.” Sincere commitment to the ethos ensuring equal opportunity requires qualitative intentionality. Suppose organizations fully understand that exponential success ratios can be more readily achieved via the power and possibilities of varied and diverse perspectives (as opposed to narrow and myopic). In that case, they will intentionally build diversity into their respective environments. A commitment to DOI (diversity, opportunity, and inclusion) delivers this. 

DOI (emphasizing opportunity) mitigates the many shortcomings of a Marxist-infused DEI strategy. Existing parlance and strategies that embrace DEI (with equity as the emphasis) will ultimately fail; obviously, divisive and chaotic environments utilizing skin color as the primary determinant for advancement cannot deliver inclusive environments committed to unity. Since an embrace of merit-based “opportunity” is “blind,” it is the only morally principled ethic that demonstrates a sincere commitment to diversity and unity.

The bottom line is DEI has helped build sensitivity and intentionality around the need for diverse and inclusive environments. To receive any gains from DEI initiatives, a concerted effort to maximize “opportunity” (for all) and entirely reject the hype and pablum surrounding “equity” is vital.

For a more thorough in-depth perspective and analysis on DEI, I encourage you to read my upcoming book, “DEI in 3D” (expected release June 2023).