If you’re like most Americans, you’ve heard the acronym DEI. You also may know that it stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
What you may not know, though, is that those words are as accurate as the word “Democratic” is in the formal name for North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or was when the former East Germany called itself the German Democratic Republic.
DEI is, in fact, a reductionist ideology that sees all disparities of performance as evidence of racism. It promotes discrimination based on immutable characteristics such as skin color and prizes equal outcomes over equal opportunity.
The efficiency and credibility of the U.S. State Department, the military, and the federal bureaucracy as a whole are being undermined by the Biden administration’s relentless insertion of DEI into every facet of operations, not least personnel.
Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley writes that “the progressive Left’s response” to gaps between racial groups in performance outcomes “has been to wage war on meritocracy rather than focus on improving instruction” in K-12 schools, where lie the roots of group disparities that show up years later.
Discrimination in Incarceration
California soon may pass a law that “requires judges to consider a convicted criminal’s race when determining prison sentences,” to “rectify the historical racial bias deeply ingrained in the criminal justice system.”
Some activists suggest that victims of crime should be treated differently based on their race.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion as practiced in most American organizations is antithetical to America’s fundamental values, and often illegal. And yet, DEI bureaucracies now are well entrenched across academia and government.
Most American universities are dominated by leftist ideology. Viewpoint diversity is vanishing, to the detriment of both faculty research and student learning. This would be bad enough if it were a phase or fashion, but the increasing use of biased hiring processes to weed out nonbelievers is creating a permanent, self-replicating staff.
To take one example: Recruiting an “African American Studies professor versed in ‘feminist and queer studies,’ Yale asked applicants to “share ‘some way(s) in which they have championed diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.” The requirement for evidence of “championing” DEI would screen out anyone who dares question its premise.
Similar DEI litmus tests have infected promotions in the public sector.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has drawn attention to the military’s promotion into senior grades of officers who spout the required dogma about DEI, fealty to which is becoming a necessary tick-box for advancement. This is despite the fact that it does nothing to promote military readiness.
One aspiring general officer on the pending promotion list is Air Force Col. Benjamin Jonsson, who wrote an article excoriating his fellow (white) colonels and recommending that they read the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.
“Replacing the officer class of police and military ranks with politicized ideologues who will bend to a transformative dogma is a strategy that has worked in places like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela,” according to my Heritage Foundation colleague Mike Gonzalez.
Over at the State Department, joining the ranks of the senior civil or foreign service is the civilian equivalent of becoming a general or admiral. Skill and experience are important, but reciting the right catechism plays an increasing role.
The easiest path is to tell the boss what he/she/ze wants to hear, and under President Joe Biden, that’s DEI. Anyone questioning the existence of “systemic racism” at State, or challenging assumptions about racial outcomes in hiring, promotion, crime, incarceration, or education, would be sidelined at some stage, no matter how solid their data or convincing their argument.
By sharing the same ideology, or at least pretending to, the elite ranks thus replicate themselves over time.
The State Department has added an “A” to DEI, for “accessibility.”’ State’s new DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program is an example of this closed loop. The program matches “midlevel mentees with senior-level sponsors/mentors” to “form a cohort of change agents who have a strong commitment to and demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA.”
The main payoff for the 30 officers being mentored is that “sponsors will help them … strengthen their competitiveness to cross the senior foreign service threshold” and be more competitive for deputy chief of mission and principal officer jobs, the most coveted overseas assignments apart from ambassador.
Mentors, meanwhile, “will be able to point to a concrete way that they are advancing the department’s DEIA goals (a criterion for obtaining senior leadership positions).”
Advancing DEI[A] is now an obligatory area in the promotion precepts for foreign service officers. It was added, thanks mostly to State’s recently departed chief diversity officer, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley.
The DEIA Champions Sponsorship Program has sessions in Washington over the coming year, for which the State Department will pay travel costs. Although the program is open to “employees of all backgrounds,” selection criteria “will be based on applicants’ demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA.”
This taxpayer-funded program, therefore, is really open only to those already committed to this contentious ideology.
Implausibly, DEIA Champions says it intends to “create brave spaces for candid and courageous conversations between department leaders and program participants to discuss and develop solutions for the department’s DEIA challenges.”
Yet, as applicants can be selected only after showing a “demonstrated track record of advancing DEIA,” the only “brave space” created will be a groupthink bubble. Any diversity of viewpoint as to the validity of DEI as a guiding principle would be ruled out from the very start.
Organizations get the behavior they reward. The military and federal government are increasingly rewarding adherence, and requiring declarations of fealty, to the divisive, discriminatory ideology of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
With each generation of self-replicating leadership, it will get worse. Congress needs to root out and defund DEI bureaucracies, starting with the State Department’s appropriations bill, before it’s too late.
This commentary was published originally by 19fortyfive.
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