This week, Claudine Gay tendered her resignation as President of Harvard University, creating a firestorm of outrage from the left and celebration from the right. Mainstream media and progressive talking heads were quick to decry the resignation as a conservative takedown of a minority woman rooted in misogyny and racism.
The left-wing rhetoric machine quickly churned out alternative language to explain away an act that would get any student rightfully expelled from university. Ms. Gay’s plagiarism was described as unintentional duplicative language, an excuse that no doubt would not have been afforded if it wasn’t for Ms. Gay’s arbitrary demographics.
This touches on the real issue: how someone so unqualified was allowed to ascend to such an influential position in academia. Luckily, Bill Ackman provided a well-written and thought-out essay on the subject – the DEI virus.
It’s not about Israel
Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square and one of the loudest critics of Harvard University and other institutes of higher learning, wrote an essay on X this week explaining how he came to be invested in the ousting of Claudine Gay. Almost immediately after the October 7th terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas, colleges and universities erupted in protest against Israel and, in many cases, in support of Hamas itself and “intifada.”
This prompted Mr. Ackman to dig deeper, specifically at Harvard University.
“I came to learn that the root cause of antisemitism at Harvard was an ideology that had been promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests, helping to generate anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech and harassment.”
The ideology Mr. Ackman refers to is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or DEI. He admits that he, like many others, had always thought DEI was a fundamentally positive thing for organizations to embrace.
Still, after digging deeper into the practices at Harvard, he learned that:
“…DEI was not about diversity in its purest form, but rather DEI was a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups that are deemed oppressed under DEI’s own methodology.”
To break it down, the DEI ideology claims that by virtue of an individual’s race, sex, and other arbitrary characteristics, one is inherently oppressed or the oppressor. For example, the fact that I am a woman means I am always at some disadvantage regardless of whether I have experienced said disadvantage.
On the flip side, if one is unfortunate enough to be born a white heterosexual male, they are inherently racist regardless of any actions they may or may not have taken or thoughts and beliefs they may or may not have in their minds and hearts.
Mr. Ackman lays out a straightforward statement that would be enough to have someone with less influence and capabilities ruined:
“DEI is racist because reverse racism is racism, even if it is against white people (and it is remarkable that I even need to point this out).”
Unfortunately, the systems within the United States have embraced the idea that to oppress white people is a virtue. Case in point, Mr. Ackman illustrates how pervasive this ideology has become:
“…here we are in 2024, being asked and in some cases required to use skin color to effect outcomes in admissions (recently deemed illegal by the Supreme Court), in business (likely illegal yet it happens nonetheless) and in government (also I believe in most cases to be illegal, except apparently in government contracting), rather than the content of one’s character.”
The DEI mind virus is everywhere in every hiring process for every company. It’s in academia, science, medicine, entitlement programs, and the United States military.
Despite claims made by the top brass of the once-revered U.S. military, our profession of arms has been and continues to make promotion decisions and strategic decisions based on DEI. I was touched by this virus when I was passed over for a position I was told I was unanimously voted the most qualified for, but I didn’t “look diverse” enough.
How did this happen?
The DEI ideology didn’t just start with its infection; it has taken a long, slow march through our institutions fed by good intentions and bad actors. Plenty believed, as Mr. Ackman had, that DEI was a good thing, and in principle, diversity and inclusion are positive attributes.
Diversity of thought and experience is a definite advantage to any team, and fostering an environment that includes these thoughts and experiences is a noble attribute of any organization. It’s when the focus became on immutable characteristics such as skin color, biological sex, sexual identity, and other traits that it distorted the concepts of diversity and inclusion and created a society that prefers basic demographics over merits.
Billionaire Elon Musk has long decried the DEI movement and received much criticism for it. A recent Forbes article by James Hudson titled What Elon Musk Does Not Understand About DEI Programs attempted to claim that Mr. Musk and those who agree with him don’t understand DEI.
Mr. Hudson explained:
“Given that the population is ~50% female, it would logically follow that 50% of senior leaders in an organization would also be female, though this is rarely the case.”
Unfortunately, this example only highlights the simplistic, at best, statistical knowledge Mr. Hudson and others in his camp understand. A society’s or group’s population demographics don’t automatically correlate to their abilities, let alone their interests.
The above argument assumes that 50% of females want to be senior leaders in organizations, or even can be. This is flawed given the impossibility of measuring and the overall cultural unlikelihood.
The same can be said regarding racial demographics and any other demographic statistic.
It’s not over
Claudine Gay’s resignation is only a small win in the fight against the DEI ideology. Ms. Gay, as of today, is still going to be allowed to teach at Harvard University and thus employed at what was once the most respected institute of higher learning in the world.
Furthermore, there are thousands of other hires in influential positions merely sitting in their roles due to their skin color, gender, and or other traits versus their actual abilities.
Elon replied to Mr. Ackman’s essay:
“DEI is just another word for racism. Shame on anyone who uses it.”
Unfortunately, everyone uses it, including Elon Musk’s Tesla.
Mr. Ackman ended his essay with:
“We have a lot more work to do. Let’s get at it.”
He’s not wrong. Let’s not let this minor win distract us from the larger fight. DEI must be rooted out of every aspect of our society from elementary schools, colleges, hospitals, board rooms, battlefields, and everything in-between.
Only then do we have a chance to be what we once were, a land of opportunity and freedom.
Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
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