Diversity, equity and inclusion has gone off the rails

Harvard president Claudine Gay finally resigned this week. In doing so, she doubled down, alleging that she was forced out because of her race (she is black) and not because her testimony on anti-Semitism before Congress brought disgrace to both herself and the university, not to mention the plagiarism allegations that now cloud her career.

That she was appointed president in the first place given her ridiculously thin academic resume — and obviously with minimal due diligence, given the long-standing rumours of plagiarism — may go down as the pinnacle of our age, in which merit has been relegated to a desultory second place (at best) behind compliance with DEI. It turns out that all candidates were excluded from that search who failed to meet diversity, equity and inclusion criteria. Even at Harvard, merit had become irrelevant.

“In recent years, many universities have selected as their presidents woke, progressive cowards who pander to the most extreme and most vocal left-wing students and professors,” Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz wrote recently. “They are the wrong people, at the wrong time, to be leading American educational institutions.”

And preceding Gay’s resignation, he added: “Just as many of these new university presidents were selected for symbolism, so too should they be dismissed for symbolism.”

And so she was.

Woke academic cabal

Over the last couple of years, before the Hamas massacre, I had been asked to speak to many Canadian Jewish groups about how to fight anti-Semitism in their unions and workplaces. It is not merely that Jews in the throes of history experienced more racism than others. In 2021, according to Statistics Canada data, a Canadian Jew was 36 times more likely to be the victim of a police-reported hate crime than an Indigenous Canadian, 18 times more likely than a Muslim and 3.5 times as likely as a Black Canadian. Jewish Canadians therefore have expressed repeated concern at not being viewed as a minority facing discrimination, being instead lumped in as an over-class at diversity seminars.

Since Oct. 7, anti-Semitic hate crimes have gone up significantly, far more than those against Muslims, although our prime minister and his Liberal colleagues have insisted on erroneously coupling the real anti-Semitism (i.e. physical assaults) and bombings with Islamophobia, which has not reached anywhere near those heights.

Over the last couple of decades, equity and inclusion joined up with diversity to create an industry which had employees focus on racial identity with laudatory purposes but increasingly divisive and deleterious impact.

The performance before Congress of the three university presidents, where Gay and the heads of MIT and the University of Pennsylvania declared that it did not breach their schools’ codes of conduct to preach genocide against Jews unless it became “action” (i.e. actual genocide), was so contradistinct from their overt revulsion against any “microaggression” toward non-Jewish minorities and so shocking that it brought much of academia into disrepute. It may now lead to the dissolution of the entire woke academic cabal.

The term “white privilege” was aggressively used to inculcate the concept of original sin into every Caucasian idiotic enough to believe it such that they had to apologize for success and relinquish the product of their hard work to others.

It reached its apotheosis in Ontario when teacher Richard Bilkszto, who had previously taught in Buffalo, committed suicide after correctly disagreeing with DEI instructor Kike Ojo-Thompson’s ridiculous claim that Canada was more racist than the United States. She responded with, “You and your whiteness think that you can tell me what’s really going on with black people,” and proceeded to mock him over a period of time in an open classroom. He later killed himself in shame and despair.

News of his suicide caused the first major backlash we have experienced in this country against the institutionalized DEI lobby.

Racial bigotry used to be associated with small-town Republican Archie Bunkers — not with the well-heeled elites and academics who have increasingly become our society’s primary racists.

And where is our society today? Massive hate marches which commenced prior to Israel’s counterattack on Gaza. Not in response to killings of Palestinians but to the raping, burning and desecrating of Israelis by terrorists. Jews historically were an easy group to incite hatred toward. A small, generally successful group created an easy target for resentment and pogroms when societal dysfunction created the need for a scapegoat.

As Barton Swaim recently wrote in a Wall Street Journal article, titled How Anti-racism Becomes Anti-Semitism, “At each stage of this ugly evolution, left wing commentators and politicians became more comfortable with what looked and sounded like straight-up racial bigotry.”

He continued: “That the target of their hate was white people made their rhetoric appear harmless. But it wasn’t harmless, as anybody might have foreseen. Calling Jews ‘white’ deprived them of any cover as a racial minority and classified them with persecutors and exploiters.”

Israeli journalist Liel Leibovitz also addressed the dynamics of anti-Semitism in Commentary Magazine.

“The creative genius of Jew hatred has always been its ability to imagine the Jew as an embodiment of whatever polite society finds repulsive,” he wrote. “That’s why Jews were condemned both as nefarious bankers controlling the world’s money and shifty revolutionaries imperilling all capital. And if you decide that there’s such a thing as ‘whites’ and they are responsible for all evils perpetrated on the downtrodden, the Jews must be not only of them but nestled comfortably at the top of the white-supremacist pyramid.”

A sea change is required not only in resisting Jew-hatred, but in society itself.

“I came to learn that the root cause of anti-Semitism at Harvard was an ideology promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests,” U.S. hedge fund manager Bill Ackman wrote recently in an article titled, How to Fix Harvard.

“I came to understand that diversity, equity, and inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant. I have always believed that diversity is an important feature of a successful organization, but by diversity I mean diversity in its broadest form: diversity of viewpoints, politics, ethnicity, race, age, religion, experience, socioeconomic background, sexual identity, gender, one’s upbringing, and more. What I learned, was that DEI was not about diversity in its purest form but a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups deemed oppressed under DEI’s own methodology.”

Ackman went on: “Under DEI’s ideology, any policy that leads to unequal outcomes among people of different skin colours is deemed racist. As a result, according to DEI, capitalism is racist, advanced placement exams are racist, IQ tests are racist, corporations are racist — why was there so little pushback? The answer is that anyone who dared to raise a question that challenged DEI was deemed a racist, a label that could severely impact one’s employment, social status, reputation and more. Being called a racist got people cancelled, so those concerned about DEI and its societal and legal implications had no choice but to keep quiet in this new climate of fear.”

DEI programs cut

As result of such realizations, DEI programs and consultants are being cut in record numbers.

It is time for DEI workshops to get back to what DEI is supposed to be: anti-racist rather than often overly racist. The outpouring of racism following the Gaza war, particularly on campuses, has made many moderates give their heads a shake, wondering how DEI, so wonderful in theory, has been used by the radical left to such hate-filled effect. They wonder too how to revise the practice of DEI back to what it was intended to be: diverse, inclusive and truly equitable — not exclusive, tolerant of anti-Semitism and pitting one group against another.

Companies are realizing the advantage of true diversity and refocusing on creating an environment of equality of opportunity based on merit and contribution not equality of outcome regardless of those attributes. Coupled with the protections in human rights legislation so that employees and members of unions will not be discriminated against because of their race or religion, there is a backlash against anti-white racism and anti-Semitism in the name of DEI. And a new emphasis on merit-based hiring and promotion is becoming, once again, acceptable, as it is, desirable in our workplaces.

This struggle is just beginning and the performance of Gay and her colleagues might just be the catalyst.