Who Will Rid Us of DEI?

Despite recent enthusiasm, the era of DEI is well-entrenched and will not easily be dismantled


Virtual event explores unearned privilege

I was a diversity hire. My department hired diversity hires.  

DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) was all the rage in university humanities and social sciences departments when I was a graduate student in the 1990s: everything was about gender, race, class, and empire; oppressor and oppressed; white privilege, the male gaze. Over time, the category of class was edged out as gender and sexual identity muscled in.    

On the job market in 1999, I was shortlisted at two universities, both shortlists of all-female candidates. Job advertisements “strongly encouraged” applications from women and visible minorities.

Over the next four years, the department that had hired me hired into four more positions, all heavily influenced by sex and skin color.

“Is it true that there are people in this department who are against equity?” one of the diversity hires asked, scandalized, at a small welcoming party. The clear implication was that anyone who believed in merit-based hiring must be a bigot.

This was already the unchallenged academic mindset.

Our department practiced what was then called equity hiring (a Canadian euphemism for affirmative action). I was told that equity hiring meant that whenever two or more job candidates were equally qualified, the candidate should be chosen whose hiring would make the department more diverse.

The idea is nonsense: no two candidates are ever truly equal.

Once the decision is made to prioritize diversity, that quickly becomes the only urgent criterion. White men’s applications—hundreds of them—simply went into the reject pile; most were barely even read.

Read the rest here . . .