Home » We’ve been talking about diversity, equity and inclusion all wrong

We’ve been talking about diversity, equity and inclusion all wrong

by The Grio

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Most Americans support the notion of liberty and justice for all. As children, many of us pledged allegiance to our flag, and as adults, we still believe in justice for all. I know I do. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life’s work to fairness, whether as a civil rights attorney, Chicago’s first chief equity officer, and now as the senior strategic advisor for Race Forward, a nonprofit racial justice organization.

No matter where I’ve worked, I’ve always been driven by a passion for upholding fairness and justice. To connect people. To form a bridge between what communities need and what opportunities and resources they can access. It’s on this bridge where concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion serve as our guides, helping to ensure fairness in how we get to our destination. However, lately, that bridge has been under attack and the number one target: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

DEI is being targeted as the enemy, and it shouldn’t be.

The Washington Post reported that DEI jobs peaked in 2023, but have fallen by 8% so far this year, per data from Revelio Jobs, which tracks workforce changes. Also mentioned was that tech companies like Meta, Zoom, Google and, of course, X (formerly Twitter) are all reporting layoffs, cuts and pullbacks on DEI and related initiatives — some cutting budgets by 90%. The reason? They cite inflation; they point fingers at DEI underperformance metrics; or they reference workforce reduction requirements. What they aren’t naming is fear.

When people fear that which makes them feel uncomfortable, they will listen to any bit of evidence that supports their feelings of discomfort. We’re in an election cycle; there is a lot of fear-mongering that caters to a growing narrative: “White Americans are losing control.” That makes people uncomfortable –…

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