TheGrio Daily

The whitelash against DEI

Episode 174

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is the latest Wypipo boogeyman. Why? Because losing privilege seems like discrimination when you haven’t known any other reality. Michael Harriot, defines DEI, and explains why conservatives have it in their crosshairs.

“Imagine if every institution, every law, every policy in America benefited you. Well, when those advantages were removed, you might look at that as discrimination.”

Full Transcription Below:

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Michael Harriot: What’s wrong with diversity?

What’s bad about equity? What’s so terrible about inclusion? Well, if you really want to know, I want to welcome you to theGrio Daily. The only podcast that’ll explain the whitelash against D. E. I.

Welcome back to theGrio Daily. And today we want to talk about a subject that’s really been in the news lately. Oh, no, it’s, it’s not a critical race theory. It’s the newest get wypipo angry trend, you know, there’ll always be a new thing. And the newest thing is diversity, equity, and inclusion. I’m sure you’ve heard about Florida governor Ron DeSantis outlawing DEI at public universities and schools. They’re doing it in Texas. They’re doing it all over the country. There was a backlash at Harvard’s DEI program. Private companies are eliminating their DEI policies. And some people are wondering, ‘what’s bad about diversity? What’s so crazy about equity and inclusion?’ Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Now, the first thing you have to understand is that we have to talk about two different things, just like woke, just like affirmative action, just like critical race theory. There are two definitions. There’s the real thing, and then there’s what wypipo think it is. For instance, when you talk about ‘woke,’ well, you know, Black people have been using the word ‘woke’ for nearly a hundred years.

It just simply means to be aware. That’s what it actually means. But if you ask a white person, woke means I don’t know. There’s all kinds of definitions. It means Black. It means anti-white. It means making white children feel uncomfortable. The same is true with Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is actually a way of examining systems and structures through the lens of race.

That’s what it actually is. But what do wypipo think it is? Well, they think it is a way of reframing history, of making wypipo the villain, a way of playing the victim, a way of besmirching the founding fathers. It is really not a real good definition of critical race theory because they just made up something to eliminate it.

And that’s what we see with the whitelash against diversity, equity, and inclusion. Now, you know, we don’t just make up definitions here at theGrio Daily. We go to this little known book called a dictionary. So what does the dictionary say about diversity? Well, Miriam Webster defines diversity as ‘the condition Of having been composed of different elements, especially the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, et cetera, in a group or organization.’

Now that doesn’t sound so bad. Does it now Miriam Webster defines equity as ‘justice, according to natural law or right, specifically freedom from bias or favoritism.’ Oh, that sounds good to me. Let’s, let’s look at the last definition. What does inclusion mean? Again, that little-known book defines inclusion as ‘the act of including or the act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability.’

So diversity, equity, and inclusion sounds like something we should strive for. But what do wypipo think diversity is? Well, here’s what your favorite Caucasian race theorist Tucker Carlson says about it. 

Tucker Carlson Clip: Diversity is our strength. Now, you’ve heard that phrase before, obviously. You hear it every day.

In effect, it’s our new national motto, soon to replace the outdated and, in fact, polar opposite sentiment, e pluribus unum. Diversity is our strength. It’ll be in our currency before long, trust me. But what exactly does it mean? You may have noticed that nobody ever bothers to explain exactly what it means.

And more pressingly, is it true? The less we have in common, the stronger we are. Is a marriage stronger when spouses have radically different beliefs? Are you closer to your kids when you share no common points of reference? Do you speak the same language as your best friend? Could you be best friends if you didn’t?

These are important questions, given that our leaders are radically and permanently changing our country, wholly on the basis of their faith that diversity is, in fact, 

Michael Harriot: Yeah, but we know Tucker Carlson thinks we’re going to replace wypipo. He’s a great replacement theorist. So let’s see what a guy named Ben Shapiro, you know, he’s, you know, conservative, all right, whatever you want to call him.

Let’s see what he says about it. 

Ben Shapiro Clip: “They say diversity, equity and inclusion. And what they mean by that is shut up. Right. They don’t mean inclusion because if you have a point of view that argues with their own, then you should be quiet.” 

Michael Harriot: Okay. Okay. Okay. Ben Shapiro is pretty racist too. How about one of those left leaning liberals like Bill Maher?

What does he say about it? 

Bill Maher Clip: “Finally, new rule. If you believe in the philosophy of equality of outcomes, then you really shouldn’t have watched the Grammys last Sunday because the Grammys, aside from the usual award show virtue signaling. Are still largely about the idea that certain people do music better than others and it’s okay to reward them for it. That’s called meritocracy and it’s the opposite of guaranteed outcomes a quality of outcomes as opposed to a quality of opportunity We used to call that by another name Trophy syndrome.”

Michael Harriot: See, it’s, it’s not just conservatives. It’s not just the far right. This is what wypipo think about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Take the current hullabaloo over diversity, equity, and inclusion in the airline industry, specifically pilots and airline engineers. Now wypipo think that they’ve lowered the standards so we can get some more Negro pilots. And because of this planes are going to come crashing out of the sky. But according to a 2022 report by the Federal Aviation Administration, 94% of the airline industry pilots are white. So to address that inequity, here’s what they said we should do to create an inclusive culture. ‘We should prevent bias, discrimination, and sexual harassment before it occurs with awareness, education, and training. We should implement proven methods to increase awareness, recognition, and understanding of bias. We should expand funded opportunities for strategic mid-career professional development. They should incorporate diverse voices. And to decision making, they should evaluate the impact of policies and practice on minorities and identify clear and measurable diversity goals.’

Now, none of that says that we should just lower the standards. The standards haven’t changed. To be a pilot, you got to go through the same avenues as everyone else, Black or white, but if they reach out to people who have been traditionally excluded from the pipeline, which supplies the airline industry, the airline industry will be more diverse.

That’s how diversity, equity, and inclusion works. But what do wypipo think it means? Wypipo think it means we’re going to get some people who can barely do math and barely drive and put them in the cockpit. 

Or look at the consternation over DEI in colleges and universities, right? A lot of colleges have implemented diversity goals. So what they do is they reach out to students from areas that are traditionally excluded from college programs. They offer incentives, scholarships, grants, fellowships, training methods, tutoring to college students who aren’t white. They look at the barriers that traditionally exclude Black college students.

Like, for instance, the SAT doesn’t actually measure how well a student will perform and we know that it has racial biases baked into the formula. So what they do is they look at grades. They look at how well your high school was funded and they make a comprehensive decision based on that. But because wypipo think that the SAT or attending a good private school that sometimes costs a lot of money is a measure of merit they figure that DEI programs are letting in Black people can barely read, barely add, subtract, multiply and divide and putting them in the same class with those outstanding, smart, intelligent white kids. And because according to wypipo, they have earned the right to be in those classes, they figure programs like affirmative action, diversity, equity, and inclusion are discriminatory against good, smart, hardworking wypipo. 

Now, to be fair, there is a white version of affirmative action. A 2019 study showed that 40 % of white kids at Ivy league institutions got in through white loopholes. And when I contacted the authors of that study and asked them what would happen if they removed those white loopholes, here’s what they said to me.

Removing athletic preferences results in no change for African Americans, increases for Asian Americans and Hispanics, and a drop for whites. Removing legacy preferences increases the number of admits who are African American, Asian American, and Hispanic with corresponding drops for whites. So as you can see, there is a white version of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or affirmative action for wypipo. But wypipo don’t like to talk about that cause they think that all the Black people who get into college got in through affirmative action or DEI, thus, DEI is anti-white. 

But here is what DEI policies are in actuality. See, for a long time, America was racist. I know that’s startling to hear, but you know, you can look it up. There’s this thing called a constitution. Anyway, for a long time, America was racist and they had race-based policies on who could live in certain neighborhoods. They had race-based policies on who could borrow money from banks, who could get a mortgage, who could go to college. And those economic, social, and political disparities were never really erased because, you know, history informs the present.

So we came up with a set of policies and laws to correct those diversity, equity, and inclusion affirmative action. And to some degree it actually worked. Well, that really bothered wypipo. So there’s been this this culture war, this antipathy, this antagonism against those policies, because they figure that they’ve been taking stuff away from wypipo.

See, imagine if every institution, every law, every policy in America benefited you. Well, when those advantages were removed, you might look at that as discrimination. You might see it as anti white, but in reality, they correct a problem that actually exists. And that is why there is so much consternation and so much anger around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Because for a large part, the people who are privileged enough to benefit from the institutional and systemic advantages that have always been available for wypipo are slowly disappearing. And that makes them mad. And that is also why you gotta tell a friend about this podcast. That’s why you gotta download theGrio app. That’s why you have to subscribe to this podcast, and that’s also why instead of a saying, I’m going to leave you with a story today. A few years ago I interviewed the leader of a white supremacist, white nationalist organization who were putting up signs. All around the country, especially on highway overpasses and billboards that explain today’s saying, and those billboards explain succinctly what’s wrong with affirmative action, D E I, and everything that wypipo hate.

The sign said: “Diversity is a code word for white genocide.” Well, we’ll see you next time on theGrio Daily.

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Music Courtesy of Transitions Music Corporation

Media Clips Courtesy of: Fox News, Ben Shapiro, and HBO