Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is the latest trend sapping the budgets of American institutions everywhere.
Last week, a shocking report from The Claremont Institute revealed that American corporations have dedicated over $80 billion dollars to DEI causes and trainings since 2021. Among the companies spending millions on “anti-racism” related programs was the troubled Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which shelled out nearly $74 million dollars for DEI initiatives, even as the bank’s investment program was tanking dramatically.
The report details $82 billion dollars in social justice/BLM investments by major American companies. SVB stands out as one of the larger donors, next to big donors like Apple ($100 million) and Comcast ($165 million). While at the top of the donation pool, those contributors do pale in comparison to donors like Blackrock ($810 million) and Citigroup ($1.1 billion). However, the group did pledge on their website to provide in total up to $11 billion dollars by 2026 for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs and racial justice causes.
DEI trends are not only crushing business and financial progress, they are (intentionally) creating a uniform idealogical base in educational institutions across the nation. The rules for uniformity have become so ridiculous and so restrictive that a black DEI director in California says she has been pushed out of her job for failing to meet the progressive “woke” standards of her colleagues.
Dr. Tabia Lee became the faculty director for the Office of Equity, Social Justice and Education at De Anza College in Cupertino, California in 2021. Since that time, Lee says she has faced non-stop hostility” on her campus. The alleged hostility finally came to a head when the college informed Lee she would not be seeing her contract renewed after the current semester.
I’m passionate about elevating multiple perspectives and creating spaces where you can do that,” Dr. Tabia Lee told the [New York] Post. “And that’s literally why I was harassed and bullied out of my position.”
The DEI director called the position a “dream come true” after spending the majority of her professional career teaching in middle school and higher education and advocating for minority teachers. Unfortunately, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare as fellow staff began to harass her, accusing her of “white supremacy” for trying to streamline department communications and for questioning grammar policy around capitalizing in racial identification.
When she tried to help streamline staff communications by creating a Google Doc system, she said she was accused by a colleague of “white-splaining” — a term used to describe when white people patronizingly explain things to people of color — and of supporting white supremacy.
“I’m a black woman, and [they’re] telling me that I’m white-splaining,” Lee recalled. “[Everyone] acted like I had injured [my colleague] instead of it being the other way around, because I didn’t confess to my white supremacy or whatever.”
It happened again when she raised questions about an official school communication capitalized “Black” but not “white.”
Lee wasn’t even suggesting the college stop capitalizing “Black,” but rather simply suggested the school follow National Association of Black Journalists standards by capitalizing all races.
Her efforts were an obvious violation of informal thought policing used on college campuses these days, and she was labeled a “right-winger and “white supremacist.”
“For that, I was accused of being a white supremacist,” she said. “These constant accusations of calling people racist or calling them a white supremacists or saying that they’re aligned with right wingers — that’s such ridiculousness. It’s very damaging.”
The harassment continued after Lee questioned the accuracy of a “land acknowledgment” statement in use by De Anza College. A “land acknowledgement” statement is a gesture of admitting “privilege,” typically employed by progressive institutions and businesses. The idea is a recognition of the original heritage of the land currently in use. Students and faculty usually recite the acknowledgement before classes. The former middle school teacher suggested putting a hold on the practice until the college could verify the historical accuracy of the tribal claims in question. She told school officials there may be some evidence the tribe to which they were attributing the land historicity was actually the wrong tribe.
“To me that signals, it doesn’t really matter,” Lee said. “We’re doing [land acknowledgements] to signal our alignment with critical social justice ideology and not to really make any real changes. It’s a performative, almost pseudo-religious exercise.”
Lee claims she was also bullied for trying to organize a campus summit on anti-Semitism after receiving several complaints of discrimination from Jewish students and faculty. Colleagues told her Jewish people are “white oppressors.”
It seems as though the whole ordeal came to a head when Lee refused to join a campus socialist network. It was at that point she believes her refusal to take on any labels, and her advocacy for total and nondiscriminatory “inclusion” cost her the tenure promised with the DEI director’s position. The school denied her tenure for an “inability to demonstrate cooperation in working with colleagues and staff” and an “unwillingness to accept constructive criticism.”
“I do not identify as a liberal or a conservative or a Republican or a Democrat or a libertarian or socialist or a communist or a feminist,” she told The Post. “I don’t identify with any of those labels, so I just had no interest in being a part of that.
De Anza’s Coordinator of Communications told The New York Post that “faculty members have comprehensive due process and appeal right both under the law and negotiated through their bargaining unit.”
Lee has not decided whether or not she will pursue legal recourse, but she did tell the Post she felt she lost the position because she refused to discriminate in the pursuit of “equity.”
“I’m trying to create safe spaces for everyone,” Lee said. “But some people wanted me to create spaces that were just safe for them, and that’s not my mission as an educator. That’s not what I’m here to do.”
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