May 28, 2022

Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI) is now big business in America. A 2021 Heritage Foundation study found that the average American college employs forty-five full-time DEI administrators. At a reported average salary of $81,800, this army of DEI staffers costs the average college $3.68 million annually. Across America’s more than 4,000 colleges, the yearly college DEI bill exceeds $14 billion.

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And that figure omits the vast private-sector industry of diversity trainers and equity consultants, as well as the ubiquitous DEI officers that populate virtually all government agencies, plus a wide array of non-profits.

This aggressive expansion of the DEI industry across leading American institutions has  proceeded with little opposition until now. Like an invading army in hostile territory, the DEI industry has made the mistake of seeking to extend its reach across America’s K-12 educational sector, and taxpaying parents are standing up, saying: “Not with my children — the indoctrination stops here!”

The DEI industry’s answer is that such parents are just old-fashioned racists, White supremacists who seek to suppress discussion of America’s history of slavery, Jim Crow, and continued “systemic racism” today.

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An entire academic industry supports this false view. An alphabet soup of university “studies” departments — Black Studies, Chicano Studies, Gay Studies, Gender Studies, Whiteness Studies, Women’s Studies — supported by ever-expanding diversity bureaucracies, promote the view that America denies that it remains a deeply racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic country.

These “XXX Studies” professors and their ideological allies promote a hard-left menu of alleged solutions to this litany of damning “isms,” namely: dismantle capitalism; expand the welfare state; impose “anti-racist” hiring quotas; eradicate “biased” ability testing in schools, college admissions, and hiring practices; outlaw and prosecute speech deemed offensive; and establish sprawling government bureaucracies to combat this alleged plague of American horribles.

Leading writers in this field have crafted a flawed but seductive argument that delegitimizes and shuts down those who question their ideology, as exemplified by Robin D’Angelo’s book White Fragility. In D’Angelo’s world, any critique of the ideology is not an invitation to discuss — rather, it is proof of the “fragile” questioner’s inherent racism, and hence illegitimate.

Unfortunately, much, if not all of this — to borrow the philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s apt phrase — is just “nonsense on stilts.”

The claim that DEI (and its linked twins, Critical Race Theory and ethnic studies) merely involves teaching about slavery, Jim Crow, and the Civil Rights movement is a bald-faced lie. Our public schools have been teaching these important subjects for years. DEI is something entirely different.

As actually applied in K-12 classrooms, DEI is primarily a classification system that divides kids into various “us-vs-them” groupings of privileged oppressors vs. marginalized oppressed. For instance, a typical DEI lesson plan will teach that white, heterosexual, males fall into three privileged oppressor groups; and that non-white lesbian females fall into three marginalized oppressed groups.