Just when you thought you’d seen it all, something else comes out of the water that shakes everything up. Since the death of George Floyd, we have seen a big push for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). I have seen this in different forms of advertisement, businesses, and even on television shows. The thing I like most about DEI is that it does give certain ethnic groups opportunities that they may not have had before. DEI put pressure on different companies, businesses, schools, colleges, even Hollywood, etc., to be diverse and inclusive to all.
We live in a diverse world, so why not have different entities that reflect that. However, there are a few individuals who don’t agree with this notion. Not too long ago, Senate Bill 17 was approved in a 19 to 12 vote. This bill will require universities and colleges to end their DEI programs and initiatives. It would also ban schools from any DEI training for employees, or asking any DEI related questions in interviews, etc. Of course, legislation has also tied this to funding and schools can be penalized if they don’t comply.
If everything was equitable in our world, we wouldn’t have had a need for DEI in the first place. Those that are against DEI claim that it would turn back the hands of time to discrimination and make certain ethnic groups not feel welcome. Well, wasn’t that the reason why DEI was created? DEI was created so all people could feel included and valued. When we think of DEI, some may automatically assume race. However, DEI also includes gender, political affiliation, social status, sexual orientation, etc. Now legislation wants to take that away. All of this is very contradictory for me. Because getting rid of DEI programs does take us back. It eliminates any little progress we have made in creating an inclusive world for all.
We will never forget the death of George Floyd as I believe his death nationally showcased the state of America when it comes to race, justice, freedom, exclusion, hatred, and so much more. Now it just seems as if DEI was just a check off and not even a sincere push for equity across the board. I believe that DEI should remain in schools. It has done a lot of good and has opened doors for many who may have been overlooked because of their background.
When will we start seeing people for just people? When will we stop making everything political and just do the right thing? As Jacqueline Woods said, “Diversity is about all of us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.”