Three Key Points in Response to the Recent Anti-DEI Backlash

I have been asked by several clients lately for discussion and suggestions on how to handle the recent anti-DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) backlash. State legislatures in several states continue to shut down publicly funded diversity work and the Supreme Court recently ruled Harvard’s and University of North Carolina’s diversity focus in admissions as unconstitutional. As DEI critics become more vocal and emblazoned, organizations are starting to worry about how that can impact their DEI efforts.

Interestingly enough, over the past decades, it has been the business world taking the lead on DEI efforts as our governments and religious institutions have failed us. See my May 2022 blog, “Once again – Corporations are Called to Lead on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” And at this juncture, it will need to be corporations taking the lead on fighting this harmful backlash.

I make three major points when asked about how to address this anti-DEI movement:

1) No one can deny the demographics – our country is becoming increasingly diverse.
• Some time around 2040 or 2042, the US will be a “minority-majority” country; the African-American, Asian and Hispanic populations will outnumber white Americans.
• According to a Gallup poll, 20% of adult Gen-Zers (people between 18 – 26 years old) now outwardly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
• And every decade since the 1960s, both the percentage and raw number of people living here born outside the US has increased.
We cannot hide from this fact and need to be ready to manage a more diverse workforce and serve an increasing diverse customer or client set.

Studies show that well managed diverse teams deliver better business results.

2) The DEI naysayers are reacting more out of fear of losing power and influence instead of focusing on the positive aspects of diversity. Diversity is what has made the USA unique and strong; people coming from all over the world bringing their ambitions and ingenuity. And in the business realm, many studies show that well-managed diverse organizations out- perform homogenous ones. One of the most often quoted series about this is from McKinsey & Company, with their 4th study “Diversity Matters Even More: The Case for Holistic Impact” published December, 2023.

3) The DEI naysayers frame the discussion as “we vs them” instead of “everybody is a valuable part of the diversity mix.” Diversity includes everybody, and should never be a discussion of the diverse vs. the non-diverse. Every single person is a unique combination of all their intersectional diversity attributes and hence has something special to offer. Everyone should ask, “what makes me unique, and what special strength can I contribute to the enterprise?” And when everyone brings their full selves to the organization in a positive way without demonizing (see my 2019 blog “Why So Much Hate?”) or putting down others, the results can be phenomenal.

Let’s now all work together to value and leverage the diversity that all of us bring to our world!

Another way to view immigration

There currently is so much hate in American politics about so-called illegal immigration. People are in an uproar calling their fellow human beings animals and asserting false claims that most of these immigrants crossing the border without documentation are drug dealers and criminals, and stealing jobs away from long time American citizens. I would like to offer a different view.

The United States has always been a country of immigrants. That is how we grew decade after decade. Many immigrants in the early years came from Europe, and then there were those forcibly brought from Africa against their will as enslaved people. In later years, immigrants came to California from Asia, and now more recently from Mexico and Central and South America.

Throughout our history, immigrants were people of creatively and ambition seeking a better live. It takes a lot of character and determination to leave your home and travel thousands of miles to a strange land. Throughout our history, immigrants came with a strong work effort and creativity that added to our national growth.

Now let’s think about these individuals and families trekking across thousands of dangerous miles with only the clothes on their backs to attempt to cross into the United States of America. This act itself shows determination and initiative. Lazy unambitious people would not dare attempt such an arduous trip!

Without migrant workers on our farms, I assert that much of our crops would rot in the fiends unpicked.

And now think about the jobs these new immigrants are willing to take on. Though many are well educated professionals, many also will work on our farms, in our hotels, in our restaurants, and in the building and landscaping industries. Of course, I do not want to stereotype people, but frankly if immigrants were not continuing to come into the US, crops would rot in the field, and these “immigrant haters” would complain endlessly about not getting served in the restaurants they frequent and not being able to find reliable lawn and garden service.

Yes, we seriously do need immigration reform and some reasonable way of addressing the ongoing flood of immigrants coming into our country. But demonizing fellow human beings and discussing the issue using hateful rhetoric instead of discussing facts and forming solutions in a mature way is harmful and unhelpful.

Let’s discuss, address and debate the immigration issue in a mature way seeking a solution to this issue instead of spreading vitriolic hate.

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Please do read my blog “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People.”