Because Critical Theories of identity view the person and their (identity) politics as intrinsically intertwined, “Diversity” doesn’t mean what anyone thinks it means. It means “Diversity” as the Critical approaches to “identity studies” in Critical Social Justice (like Critical Race Theory) understand it. It has a very specific meaning in Critical Theory. It means only having more diverse representation of different “lived experiences of oppression.” That is, it means having people with different ethnic backgrounds and the same grievance-oriented approach to thinking about those backgrounds and aggressive and highly sensitive identity-politicking style regarding them. That’s what you’re bringing in when you go for “Diversity”: Identity-driven Critical Theorists, i.e., work-avoidant complainers, troublemakers, and busybodies who will problematize every aspect of your organization until it is compliant with their impossible and often-nonsensical political demands.
We think “diversity” means people with diverse backgrounds, but the Critical Theory twists this definition into a very specific interpretation. Specifically, in Critical Social Justice, “Diversity” means something like “people with ‘diverse’ ethnic origins who all have the same Woke political understanding of the ‘social positions‘ they inhabit and the world in which those have context.” The programs for “Diversity” insist those people, not merely people from different backgrounds, have to be hired to achieve “Diversity.” The Critical system of thought maintains that everyone else lacks the “authentic” (i.e., Critical) view and thus fails to support the right kind of “Diversity.”
Under these Critical Theories, if you happen to be some particular identity (e.g., “racially black,” as Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the New York Times Magazine “1619 Project” seemingly inadvertently put it), then your voice is only authentically Black (“politically Black”) if it speaks in terms of Blackness—a radical black-liberationist political mindset—as that is understood by Critical Race Theory. Otherwise, the black person in question is said to be suffering internalized racism (a form of socially brainwashed false consciousness that prevents him from knowing his own best interests) or is race-traitorous. Therefore, a “racially black” but not “politically Black” hire wouldn’t constitute a proper Black “Diversity” hire because the “Diversity” perspective requires having taken up the right black-liberationist politics of Critical Race Theory. Literally anything else supports “white supremacy,” which is the opposite of “Diversity,” and thus doesn’t qualify. The person’s identity is their politics, and this is why we see prominent black figures being cancelled for not holding the proper “politically Black” line.
How can this be? These Identity Theories operate on the premise that different identity groups have a different essential experience of “systemic power” dynamics and thus different “knowledges” and “lived realities.” When the relevant identity is racial, each race is said to possess certain “racial knowledges” that can only be obtained in one way: by the “lived experience” of oppressed for being that race and learning to interpret those experiences through Critical Race Theory. Only someone who represents those experiences faithfully, meaning as the relevant Identity Theory says they must be, has an “authentic” voice that speaks from that social position. Thus, in the Theory underlying DIE training, only Critical Theorists of multiple “oppressed” identities can possibly count as satisfying “Diversity” because that’s what “Diversity” really refers to.
What this means in your organization is having to hire people who have been trained into an exquisitely sensitive form of offense-taking and whose primary work effort will be problematizing everything they can read racism into. And make no mistake, the Theory says the racism must be and always is present (“the question is not ‘did racism take place?’ but ‘how did racism manifest in this situation?’” –Robin DiAngelo). The “Diversity” hire is there to help make sure it’s found and “made visible.” Diversity training is meant to make this way of thinking and the resulting cancel culture it creates standard operating procedure in your organization. At a bare minimum, the increased focus on “Diversity” initiatives will constitute a drain of valuable resources that make your organization less productive and less competitive. At worst, your organization will fracture in a Hobbesian way around these divisions like The Evergreen State College.
Therefore, when we see a call for more “Diversity” in hiring, that means hiring more Critical Theorists who have a wider variety of identity statuses but identical politics about identity in general. It’s a call to hire more Critical Theorists. You should only take that on if that’s what you really want because you’re not getting anything that points to the usual ideas of diversity.
Now we can answer our question about what this DIE work is “essential” to achieving, then. Taking on DIE is “essential” for fomenting and effecting your organization’s part in the Critical revolution. This will be achieved by finalizing Gramsci’s long march through the institutions and forcing the Critical narrative on everyone so as to establish and perpetuate its nascent hegemony. That is, DIE is essential to a sociopolitical takeover of liberal society by radical neo-Marxist activsts.
Equity and equality are not the same thing. Equality means “arranging the system so that citizens are treated equally.” “Equity” means “adjusting shares so that outcomes are made equal from one citizen to another.” It arises from what is known as “social equity theory,” and it means engineering equality of outcome.
“Equity” justifies its “essential” necessity by identifying any disparity in outcome that comes out on average in the negative for the “protected classes” defined by Theory (so, not white and usually not Asian, e.g.) as the result of bigotry. This results in DIE approaches using the worst-possible means of measuring when “Equity” has been achieved and when it lacks. On-average differences, according to Critical Social Justice Theory, are “inequities,” and these must imply discrimination and bigotry in a systemic sense, and therefore must be adjusted for. This demand for “Equity” is taken to be true even if there is no evidence of (or strong evidence against) any discrimination whatsoever (asking for this evidence is also taken as evidence of racism because it suggests something overrides the experience of “lived realities”).
This is where “systemic racism” (to name just one form of systemic bigotry) becomes relevant, serving as a kid of “bigotry of the gaps” catch-all explanation for all differences that Theory would call “oppression.” The underlying belief in the Theory is that everyone must be intrinsically the same, therefore any differences on average must be the result of overt or hidden discrimination, especially when the relevant causes aren’t known or knowable. The DIE Theorist’s job is to find the “hidden” discrimination, especially since the overt parts have been eliminated in law for decades.
That hidden discrimination might be found in the organization itself (which will be charged with it, no matter how much it bends backwards to do the opposite) or in the vague workings of society, culture, education, representation, language, feelings, or anything ever experienced. Women being “assigned” the female sex at birth, for example, is often construed as sufficient to have begun “socializing” (what Critical Theory calls brainwashing by society) them into a set of beliefs and attitudes that lead them to feel unsuited to work in certain industries, like technology and on oil rigs (wait, no, not the second one). From there, everything that goes into their entire experience as as girl, then woman, is part of the “systemic” bigotry (here, sexism and misogyny) that “must” be the cause of this result. “Equity” wants to make up for it through social engineering, but not so much on the oil rig.
The objective of “Equity” is to create perfectly “Equitable” outcomes in high-status employment sectors (and basically nowhere else). On a superficial reading, as we will see, this means that employment statistics in high-status jobs, especially where cultural production or potential harms are concerned, will have to match exactly the prevailing demographic percentages in the population, even though this is literally impossible without large-scale social engineering including forced quotas. (Random stochasticity, that is, noise in the system, should make perfect alignment with prevailing demographic percentages extremely improbable, after all, even if the system were perfectly free of difference and discrimination of every sort.) That means that “Equity” implies using identity-based quotas and vigorous social engineering to achieve them. Because outcomes have to be perfectly equitable for “Equity” to have been achieved, it genuinely represents something close to an ethno-communist totalitarianism if it were put into full practice.
Bear in mind that “Equitable” outcomes require discrimination. In Ibram X. Kendi’s bestselling book How to Be Antiracist, he makes no bones about this point; it’s not like it’s some secret Theory is trying to keep from us. Kendi writes, “The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.” It is on this line of thought precisely that we have recently seen the California State Legislature vote to remove the anti-discrimination verbiage from its state constitution. “Equity” would require us to discriminate against “dominant” groups and in favor of “oppressed ones,” as Theory has defined it, so achieving “Equity” means doing identity-based discrimination, potentially endlessly because they’ll be virtually impossible to achieve just due to random fluctuations in population dynamics.
Even creating “Equitable” outcomes like perfect parity won’t be enough, however, because Critical Race Theory is also what might be described as “ethno-historical.” Thus, even if there are no current disparities to be found (and there always will be because they can also be made up at the level of culture or subjective feelings), in any cases where there are historical ones to appeal to, those will have to be made up for too in order to achieve “Equity.” Thus, applying “Equity” from a Critical perspective results something like a combination of affirmative action and reparations, in one form or another.
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