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Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Flyer supporting equity, diversity and inclusion. (2016)

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are organizational frameworks which seek to promote the fair treatment and full participation of all people, particularly groups who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination on the basis of identity or disability.[1] These three notions (diversity, equity, and inclusion) together represent "three closely linked values" which organizations seek to institutionalize through DEI frameworks.[2] Some experts say diversity and inclusion should be decoupled in some cases.[3] Some frameworks, primarily in Britain, substitute the notion of "equity" with equality: equality, diversity, inclusion (EDI).[4][5][6] Other variations include diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB),[7][8][9] justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI or EDIJ),[10][11] or diversity, equity, inclusion and access (IDEA, DEIA or DEAI).[12][13][14]

Diversity refers to the presence of variety within the organizational workforce, such as in identity and identity politics. It includes gender, culture, ethnicity, religion, disability, class, age or opinion.[2][15] Equity refers to concepts of fairness and justice, such as fair compensation and substantive equality.[15] More specifically, equity usually also includes a focus on societal disparities and allocating resources and "decision making authority to groups that have historically been disadvantaged",[16] and taking "into consideration a person's unique circumstances, adjusting treatment accordingly so that the end result is equal."[2] Finally, inclusion refers to creating an organizational culture that creates an experience where "all employees feel their voices will be heard",[2] and a sense of belonging and integration.[15][17]

DEI is most often used to describe certain "training" efforts, such as diversity training. Though DEI is best known as a form of corporate training, it also finds implementation within many types of organizations, such as within academia, schools, and hospitals.[18][19]

In recent years, DEI efforts and policies have generated criticism, some directed at the specific effectiveness of its tools, such as diversity training, its effect on free speech and academic freedom, as well as more broadly attracting criticism on political or philosophical grounds.


DEI policy emerged from Affirmative Action in the United States.[20] The legal term "affirmative action" was first used in "Executive Order No. 10925",[21] signed by President John F. Kennedy on 6 March 1961, which included a provision that government contractors "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated [fairly] during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin".[22] It was used to promote actions that achieve non-discrimination. In September 1965, President Lyndon Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 which required government employers to "hire without regard to race, religion and national origin" and "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin."[23] The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Neither executive order nor The Civil Rights Act authorized group preferences. The Senate floor manager of the bill, Senator Hubert Humphrey, declared that the bill “would prohibit preferential treatment for any particular group” adding “I will eat my hat if this leads to racial quotas.” [24] However affirmative action in practice would eventually become synonymous with preferences, goals and quotas as upheld or struck down by Supreme Court decisions even though no law had been passed explicitly permitting discrimination in favor of disadvantaged groups. Some state laws explicitly banned racial preferences, and in response some laws have failed attempting to explicitly legalize race preferences.

Affirmative action is intended to alleviate under-representation and to promote the opportunities of defined minority groups within a society to give them equal access to that of the majority population.[25] The philosophical basis of the policy has various rationales, including but not limited to compensation for past discrimination, correction of current discrimination, and the diversification of society.[26] It is often implemented in governmental and educational settings to ensure that designated groups within a society can participate in all promotional, educational, and training opportunities.[27]

The stated justification for affirmative action by its proponents is to help compensate for past discrimination, persecution or exploitation by the ruling class of a culture,[28] and to address existing discrimination.[29] More recently concepts have moved beyond discrimination to include diversity, equity and inclusion as motives for preferring historically underrepresented groups.

In the famous Bakke decision of 1978, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, diversity now became a factor in constitutional law. The Supreme Court ruled quotas were illegal but it was allowable to consider race as a plus factor when trying to foster "diversity" in their classes.[30] [31]

Diversity themes gained momentum in the mid-1980s. At a time when President Ronald Reagan threatened to dismantle equality and affirmative action laws in the 1980s, equality and affirmative action professionals employed by US firms along with equality consultants, engaged in establishing the argument that a diverse workforce should be seen as a competitive advantage rather than just as a legal constraint. Basically, their message was, do not promote diversity because it is a legal mandate, but because it is good for business . From then on, researchers started to test a number of hypotheses on the business benefits of diversity and of diversity management, known as the business case of diversity.[32]

In 2003 corporations spent $8 billion annually on diversity. After the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the ascent of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, Time magazine stated in 2019 that the DEI industry had "exploded" in size.[33] Within academia, a 2019 survey found that spending on DEI efforts had increased 27 percent over the five preceding academic years.[34]

One 2020 estimate placed the size of the global diversity and inclusion market at $7.5 billion, of which $3.4 billion was in the United States, projecting it to reach $17.2 billion by 2027.[35]

In 2021, New York magazine stated "the business became astronomically larger than ever" after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.[36] The Economist has also stated that surveys of international companies indicate that the number of people hired for jobs with "diversity" or "inclusion" in the title more than quadrupled since 2010.[37]

As of 2024, affirmative action rhetoric has been increasingly replaced by emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, while nine states explicitly ban its use in the employment process.[38][39] The Supreme Court in 2023 explicitly rejected affirmative action regarding race in college admissions in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. The Court held that affirmative action programs "lack sufficiently focused and measurable objectives warranting the use of race, unavoidably employ race in a negative manner, involve racial stereotyping, and lack meaningful end points. We have never permitted admissions programs to work in that way, and we will not do so today".[40][41][42]

Methods and arguments

In a 2018 article, proponents of DEI argued that because businesses and corporations exist within a larger world, they cannot be completely separated from the issues that exist in society. Therefore, the authors argue the need for DEI to improve coworker relations and teamwork.[43] Through a DEI plan, organizations outline measures to be taken, including recruiting and retaining personnel, fostering effective communication channels, imparting relevant training, and regulating workplace conduct.[44]

As of 2022 many academic institutions in the US have also started making commitments to DEI in different ways, including creating documents, programs and appointing dedicated staff members especially in the US.[45][46] Many accreditation agencies now require supporting DEI.[47][48] As of 2014, information on DEI for both students and professors was widespread in colleges and universities, with many schools requiring training and meetings on the topic. Many scholarships and opportunities at universities even have a secondary purpose of encouraging diversity. Diversity in higher education can be difficult, with diverse students often feeling reduced to fulfilling a 'diversity quota,' which can carry a high emotional tax.[49]

Within healthcare, DEI reflective groups have been used to enhance the cultural sensitivity within mental health professionals. Such reflective spaces help improve mental health professionals reflexivity and awareness of DEI-related issues both within direct clinical work with clients, their families, and wider systems, as well as within professional supervision and teams.[50]

DEI positions also exist with the goal of creating allies for public school students through resources and staff training, in order to support students facing social disparities.[51][52] Other proponents of allyship consider impromptu speaking a key skill for allies to operate on authenticity in everyday words and reactions.[53]


Diversity management as a concept appeared and gained momentum in the US in the mid-1980s. At a time when President Ronald Reagan threatened to dismantle equality and affirmative action laws in the US in the 1980s, equality and affirmative action professionals employed by US firms along with equality consultants, engaged in establishing the argument that a diverse workforce should be seen as a competitive advantage rather than just as a legal constraint. Basically, their message was, do not promote diversity because it is a legal mandate, but because it is good for business (Kelly and Dobbin, 1998). Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, some companies made substantial commitments to racial equity by establishing dedicated diversity, equity, and inclusion teams. In early 2024 the Washington Post reported that there is a trend in corporate America to reduce DEI positions and delegate the work to external consultants. The number of DEI jobs reached its highest point in early 2023, but subsequently decreased by 5 percent that year and has further shrunk by 8 percent in 2024. The attrition rate for DEI roles has been approximately twice as high as that of non-DEI positions. The scaling back of DEI initiatives has aligned with a rise in legal challenges and political opposition to systematic endeavors aimed at enhancing racial equity.[54] Diversity management can be seen to "leverage organisational diversity to enhance organisational justice and achieve better business outcomes".[55]

Several reports[56][57] including by McKinsey & Company[58] claim financial benefits of DEI, but are criticized for over-generalization, lack of rigour, and distinguishing between correlation and causality.[59] At an aggregate level, Alessina, Harnoss, and Rapoport (2013) have shown that birth country diversity of the labor force positively impacts a nation's long term productivity and income.[60] Firm-level research has provided conditional support to the proposal that workforce diversity per se brings business benefits with it. In short, whether diversity pays off or not depends on environmental factors, internal or external to the firm. Dwyer, Richard & Chadwyck (2003) found that the effects of gender diversity at the management level are conditional on the firm's strategic orientation, the organizational culture and the multivariate interaction among these variables. Schäffner, Gebert, Schöler, & Kirch (2006) found that if the firm's culture incorporates the normative assumption or belief that diversity is an opportunity, then age diversity becomes a predictor of team innovativeness, but not otherwise. Kearney & Gebert (2006) found that diversity in age, nationality, and functional background, have a positive effect on team innovativeness in a high transformational leadership context, but no effect in a low one. A curvilinear relationship between diversity and performance was identified by Richard, Barnett, Dwyer, & Chadwick (2004). Kochan, Bezrukova, Ely, Jackson, Joshi, Jehn et al. (2003), found few positive or negative direct effects of diversity on performance. In the cases that came under their scrutiny, a number of different aspects of the organizational context or group processes moderated the diversity-performance relationship. Failing to manage diversity properly or developing diversity per se leads to only mixed results (Bell & Berry, 2007; Klein & Harrison, 2007), although Risberg & Corvellec show that approaching diversity management in terms of trying is a way to emphasize the performative dimension of diversity management beyond a reductionist dichotomy between success and failure.[61] Overall research suggests that diversity needs to be properly managed if any business benefits are to be reaped. If properly managed under the right conditions, diversity likely will hold its business promises. Given this conditional nature, the topic remains open to debate and further research.

Research indicates that attempts to promote diversity can provoke defensive responses: One study[62] showed that even incidental allusions to diversity during interviews promoted defensive reactions in White male applicants. Indeed, after diversity was mentioned, their performance during the interview deteriorated and their physiological arousal increased.

Criticism and controversy

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, institutions are making defensive adjustments to the criticism. Some schools are removing the word “diversity” from titles of offices and jobs; some are closing campus spaces set up for students according to identity; some are ending diversity training; and some have stopped asking all faculty and staff members for written affirmations of their commitment to diversity.[63]

Diversity training

Diversity training, a common tool used in DEI efforts, has repeatedly come under criticism as being ineffective or even counterproductive.[64][37][65][66] The Economist has stated that "the consensus now emerging among academics is that many anti-discrimination policies have no effect. What is worse, they often backfire".[37] A regular claim is that these efforts mainly work to protect against litigation.[37][67] It has also been criticized that there has been limited progress in achieving racial diversity in corporate leadership, particularly for Black professionals, due to a lack of diverse Chief Diversity Officers and a broad DEI focus that overlooks specific issues Black professionals face.[68] A 2007 study of 829 companies over 31 years showed "no positive effects in the average workplace" from diversity training, while the effect was negative where it was mandatory.[67] According to Harvard University professor in sociology and diversity researcher Frank Dobbin, "[O]n average, the typical all-hands-on-deck, 'everybody has to have diversity training'—that typical format in big companies doesn't have any positive effects on any historically underrepresented groups like black men or women, Hispanic men or women, Asian-American men or women or white women."[65]

Mandatory diversity statements within academia

The use of mandatory "diversity statements" within academia, wherein an applicant or faculty member outlines their "past contributions" and plans "for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion" if hired, has become controversial and sparked criticism.[69]

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) has called such practices an attack on academic freedom, stating that "[v]ague or ideologically motivated DEI statement policies can too easily function as litmus tests for adherence to prevailing ideological views on DEI" and "penalize faculty for holding dissenting opinions on matters of public concern".[70] According to a 2022 survey conducted by the American Association of University Professors, one in five American colleges and universities include DEI criteria in tenure standards, including 45.6% of institutions with more than 5000 students.[71] Some universities have begun to weigh diversity statements heavily in hiring processes. For example, University of California, Berkeley eliminated three-quarters of applicants for five faculty positions in the life sciences exclusively on the basis of their diversity statements in the hiring cycle of 2018–2019.[72]

The Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) has called for the end of required diversity statements, stating it "encourages cynicism and dishonesty" and erases "the distinction between academic expertise and ideological conformity".[73] Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who resigned from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in protest against mandatory diversity statements, has stated that "most academic work has nothing to do with diversity, so these mandatory statements force many academics to betray their quasi-fiduciary duty to the truth by spinning, twisting, or otherwise inventing some tenuous connection to diversity".[74] Other criticisms include that it "devalues merit"; is connected to affirmative action; that it violates the First Amendment; or functions as a loyalty oath.[69][75][76][77]

A 1500-person survey conducted by FIRE reported that the issue is highly polarizing for faculty members, with half saying their view more closely aligns with the description of diversity statements as "a justifiable requirement for a job at a university", while the other half saw it as "an ideological litmus test that violates academic freedom".[78] According to Professor Randall L. Kennedy at Harvard University, "many academics at Harvard and beyond feel intense and growing resentment against the DEI enterprise because of features that are perhaps most evident in the demand for DEI statements", stating "I am a scholar on the left committed to struggles for social justice. The realities surrounding mandatory DEI statements, however, make me wince".[79]

Several U.S. states have implemented legislation to ban mandatory diversity statements.[78] In 2024, MIT announced that diversity statements "will no longer be part of applications for any faculty positions" at the university, becoming the first major university to abandon the practice.[80]

Equity versus equality

According to DEI frameworks, "equity is different than equality in that equality implies treating everyone as if their experiences are exactly the same."[81][82] A common identification, especially among critics, is of equality as meaning "equality of opportunities" and equity as "equality of outcome".[83][84] This difference between equity and equality is also called Dilemma of Difference.[85] Some have criticized the focus on equity rather than equality, arguing that the former runs contrary to a focus on merit or non-discrimination. Political scientist Charles Lipson has called "equity" a "mandate to discriminate", threatening the principle of "equality under the law",[86] while Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, a frequent critic of DEI, has called equity "the most egregious, self-righteous, historically-ignorant and dangerous" of the three titular notions of DEI.[87] The debate has also branched into the realm of politics. Commenting on Governor of Texas Greg Abbott calling DEI initiatives "illegal", a spokesperson for his office stated "[t]he issue is not diversity — the issue is that equity is not equality. Here in Texas, we give people a chance to advance based on talent and merit".[15]

Effects of DEI policies on free speech and academic freedom

In recent years, high-profile incidents of campus conflict have sparked debate about the effect of DEI on the campus environment, academic freedom, and free speech.[88][89][90]

The 2021 cancelling of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) guest lecture by astrophysicist Dorian Abbot after he criticized DEI programs led to media attention and controversy.[91][92][93] As a result, MIT empaneled a committee to investigate the state of academic freedom at the university.[93]

The 2023 disruption of a talk by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan at Stanford Law School sparked criticism and discussion in the media, with many focusing on the role of Associate DEI Dean Tirien Steinbach, who joined protesters in denouncing Duncan's presence on campus.[94][95][96] In the wake of the incident, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal opined that DEI offices have "become weapons to intimidate and limit speech".[97] Steinbach replied with a piece entitled "Diversity and Free Speech Can Coexist at Stanford" that was published in the Journal the following week.[98][99] Dean of Stanford Law School Jenny S. Martínez also published a ten-page document addressing the situation and clarifying Stanford's position on free speech. In it, Martinez stated that the university's commitment to DEI "can and should be implemented in ways that are consistent with its commitment to academic freedom and free speech" and that she believed that "the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion actually means that we must protect free expression of all views."[100] She added that the commitment would not take the form of "having the school administration announce institutional positions on a wide range of current social and political issues, make frequent institutional statements about current news events, or exclude or condemn speakers who hold views on social and political issues with whom some or even many in our community disagree." She criticized this definition of an "inclusive environment" by stating it "can lead to creating and enforcing an institutional orthodoxy."[100]

In April 2023, a group of 29 scientists, including Nobel laureates Dan Shechtman and Arieh Warshel, published a paper[101] that outlined what the authors see as a "clash in science between classical liberal values" and a "new postmodern worldview", which, they argue, is "enforced by 'Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion' (DEI) officers and bureaucracies" and "threatens the entire scientific enterprise." Two of the authors, Anna Krylov and Jerry Coyne, subsequently argued in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that their emphasis on merit—"once anodyne and unobjectionable [...] now contentious and outré, even in the hard sciences"—led to its refusal by major journals and subsequent publication in the Journal of Controversial Ideas.[102]

The 2023 suicide of former Toronto principal Richard Bilkszto led to a new wave of controversy surrounding DEI in the workplace and its impact on freedom of expression.[103][104] Bilkszto had earlier filed a lawsuit against the Toronto District School Board in the wake of a 2021 incident at a DEI training seminar; Bilkszto was later diagnosed with "anxiety secondary to a workplace event", and claimed the session and its aftermath had destroyed his reputation. Bilkszto's lawyer has publicly linked this incident and its aftermath with his death.[103][104] In the wake of Bilkszto's death, Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce stated he had asked for a review and "options to reform professional training and strengthen accountability on school boards so this never happens again", calling Bilkszto's allegations before his death "serious and disturbing".[103] Bilkszto's death generated international attention and renewed debate on DEI and freedom of speech.[105][106] According to The Globe and Mail, the incident has also been "seized on by a number of prominent right-wing commentators looking to roll-back [DEI] initiatives."[104] The anti-racism trainer involved in the incident has stated they welcome the review by Lecce, and stated that the incident has been "weaponized to discredit and suppress the work of people committed [to DEI]".[103][104]


DEI has been accused of ignoring or even contributing to antisemitism.[107][108][109][110] According to Andria Spindel of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation, antisemitism has been largely ignored in the DEI curriculum.[111] The relationship between DEI and campus antisemitism came under further scrutiny after the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and subsequent war in Gaza.[112][113][114]

Tabia Lee, a former DEI director at De Anza College in California and DEI critic, has claimed that DEI frameworks foster antisemitism through its "oppressors and the oppressed" dichotomy whereby "Jews are categorically placed in the oppressor category" and described as "white oppressors".[115][116] She has claimed that her attempts to include Jews under the DEI umbrella were resisted.[117] When her critics asked the college trustees to oust her from her role, one counselor explicitly referenced her attempts to place Jewish students "on the same footing as marginalized groups".[117] The Brandeis Center likewise notes how the DEI committee at Stanford University alleged that "Jews, unlike other minority group[s], possess privilege and power, Jews and victims of Jew-hatred do not merit or necessitate the attention of the DEI committee" after two students complained about antisemitic incidents on campus.[118]

Following a wave of antisemitic incidents on American campuses in 2023–2024, several Republican congressmen laid the blame on DEI, with Burgess Owens stating DEI programs "are anything but inclusive for Jews".[119] DEI's lack of inclusion of Jews and contribution to antisemitism were similarly criticized by businessman Bill Ackman[120] and columnist Heather Mac Donald.[121] Following the antisemitism controversy at the University of Pennsylvania, one donor pulled a $100 million donation "because he thought the school was prioritizing D.E.I. over enhancing the business school's academic excellence."[122]

Politicization and ideology

DEI has according to some critics become a distinct ideology or "political agenda", leading to a politicization of universities.[123] Fareed Zakaria, a commentator on CNN, has criticized American universities for "[h]aving gone so far down the ideological path" that "these universities and these presidents cannot make the case clearly that at the center of a university is the free expression of ideas." He opines that "[t]he most obvious lack of diversity at universities, political diversity, which clearly affects their ability to analyze many issues, is not addressed."[123]

Dog-whistle diversity

Author Christine Michel Carter coined the term "dog-whistle diversity" for TIME in 2017.[124] Influenced by the phrase "dog whistle politics," dog whistle diversity is defined as the hiring of groups who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination by organizations for the social aspect of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). To investors and stakeholders, hiring these groups sends a coded message that the organization is more open to a diverse workforce, but to the groups hired it suggests the organization lacks effective diversity management or inclusion.[124]

Disability community

According to some critics, DEI initiatives inadvertently sideline disabled people. Writing for The Conversation in 2017, college professor Stephen Friedman said that, "Organizations who are serious about DEI must adopt the frame of producing shared value where business and social goods exist side-by-side".[125] According to a Time article in 2023, "People with disabilities are being neglected".[126]

This view has been echoed by a number of DEI leaders and activists. Sara Hart Weir, the former president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society and co-founder of the Commission for Disability Employment, argues that when deliberating on the vision of DEI success in the United States, policymakers, and employers need to take proactive measures to engaging with people with disabilities who they historically ignored.[127] Corinne Gray has argued that, "If you embrace diversity, but ignore disability, you're doing it wrong."[128]

Political and public reaction

Higher education

Since 2023, Republican-dominated state legislatures are considering bills that are against DEI efforts, primarily at state colleges and universities. The downgrading is taking place amid heavy legal pressures. Supreme Court in June 2023 upended established equal protection law with its decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. This ruling, effectively eliminated the use of affirmative action in college admissions but did not directly affect employers. Nevertheless, since then conservative activists have organized in the states to dismantle race-conscious policies in various aspects of the economy. The Chronicle of Higher Education in February 2024 is tracking 73 bills introduced in state legislatures in 2023-2024. Of these 8 have become law, 25 failed to pass, and the rest are pending. Two bills became law in Florida and Texas; and one each in North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah. Florida now prohibits public colleges from requiring “political loyalty tests” as a condition of employment, admission, or promotion. The other Florida law prohibits public colleges from spending state or federal funds on DEI unless required by federal law. One Texas law prohibits DEI practices or programs, including training, that are not in compliance with the state Constitution regarding equality. The other law bans DEI offices and staff, as well as mandatory diversity training. It also bans identity-based diversity statements that give preference regarding race or sex.[129]

Entertainment and media

Within the film industry, several prominent actors and directors have criticized recently implemented diversity standards, such as at the Academy Awards. Beginning in 2024, to be eligible for a best-picture nomination at the Academy Awards, a film must meet two of four diversity standards in order to qualify.[130]

Actor Richard Dreyfuss stated the Academy Award's diversity and inclusion standards "make me vomit", arguing that art should not be morally legislated.[131] Several major film directors, who are voting members of the Academy Awards, anonymously expressed their opposition to the new diversity standards to The New York Post, with one describing them as "contrived".[132] Film critic Armond White attacked the new standards as "progressive fascism", comparing them to the Hays Code.[133]

Conservative media sources, such as National Review, have also been frequent critics of DEI, with contributor George Leff arguing it is authoritarian and anti-meritocratic.[134]


In the 2020s, DEI came into the spotlight in American politics, especially in state legislatures in Texas and other Republican-controlled states.[135] Several states are considering or have passed legislation targeting DEI in public institutions. In March 2023, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill with a rider banning the use of state funds for DEI programs in universities and colleges.[136] In May 2023, Texas passed legislation banning offices and programs promoting DEI at publicly funded colleges and universities.[137][138] In Iowa, a bill to ban spending on DEI in public universities was also advanced in March 2023.[139]

Several prominent Republicans positioned themselves as critics, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis,[140] Texas Governor Greg Abbott,[15] and 2024 presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.[141] In January 2024 the Florida Board of Education banned federal or state money being used toward DEI programs in universities.[142]

Another significant point of political controversy has been the implementation of DEI frameworks in the military, with Republican politicians frequently criticizing the efforts as "divisive" and as harming military efficiency and recruiting, while Democrats have defended it as beneficial and strengthening.[143] In July 2023, the House of Representatives voted to ban all DEI offices and initiatives within the Pentagon and military along partisan lines, with all Democrats and four Republican members also opposing. The Senate, under Democratic control, has not acted.[144][145]

Public boycotts

Political opposition to corporate DEI efforts in the United States, particularly marketing criticized as "woke", have led to calls for boycotts of certain companies by activists and politicians; with notable examples being Disney, Target, Anheuser-Busch,[146] and Chick-fil-A.[147][148] Commentator Jonathan Turley of The Hill described such boycotts as possessing "some success".[149]

Some of these companies' responses to the controversies have, in turn, sparked criticism from progressives of "walking back" or failing DEI commitments.[150][151]

See also


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Further reading

  • Abawi, Zuhra E., and Ann E. Lopez, eds. The Effectiveness of Educational Policy for Bias-Free Teacher Hiring: Critical Insights to Enhance Diversity in the Canadian Teacher Workforce (Routledge, 2021)
  • Abu-Laban, Yasmeen, and Christina Gabriel. Selling diversity: Immigration, multiculturalism, employment equity, and globalization (U of Toronto Press, 2002), DEI in Canada online; see symposium on the book at Canadian Ethnic Studies 55.1 (2023): 125-145.
  • Anand, Rohini. Leading Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (2021), for multinational companies
  • Anderson, Terry H. The pursuit of fairness: a history of affirmative action (Oxford University Press, 2004), a standard scholarly history.
  • April, Kurt. "The new diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) realities and challenges." HR: The new agenda (2021): 119-132. online
  • Arsel, Zeynep, David Crockett, and Maura L. Scott. "Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the Journal of Consumer Research: A curation and research agenda." Journal of Consumer Research 48.5 (2022): 920-933. online
  • Barnett, Rachel. "Leading with meaning: Why diversity, equity, and inclusion matters in US higher education." Perspectives in Education 38.2 (2020): 20-35. online
  • Bendl, Regina, et al. eds. The Oxford handbook of diversity in organizations (Oxford UP, 2015) online
  • Byrd, Marilyn Y., and Chaunda L. Scott, eds. Diversity in the workforce: Current issues and emerging trends. (2024).online
  • Davis, Dr. Shirley. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion For Dummies (2022), wide-ranging manual to help new DEI officials in corporations.
  • Dobbin, Frank. Inventing equal opportunity (Princeton UP, 2009), scholarly history argues that Congress and the courts followed the lead of programs created by corporations.
  • "Elkins, Caroline, Frances Frei, and Anne Morriss. "Critics of D.E.I. Forget That It Works: Guest Essay," New York Times Jan 21, 2024.
  • Ferraro, Carla, Alicia Hemsley, and Sean Sands. "Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): Considerations and opportunities for brand managers." Business Horizons 66.4 (2023): 463-479.[1]
  • Fleming, Robert S. "Diversity, equity, and inclusion." in Preparing for a Successful Faculty Career: Achieving Career Excellence as a Faculty Member (Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland, 2024). 157-159.
  • Harpalani, Vinay (November 2012). "Diversity within racial groups and the constitutionality of race-conscious admissions". University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. 15 (2): 463–537.
  • Harrison, David A., et al. "Understanding attitudes toward affirmative action programs in employment: Summary and meta-analysis of 35 years of research." Journal of Applied Psychology 91#5 (2006): 1013+ online.
  • Holzer, Harry, and David Neumark. "Assessing affirmative action." Journal of Economic Literature 38.3 (2000): 483-568; summary of 200 studies on the actual effects. online
  • Iyer, Aarti. "Understanding advantaged groups' opposition to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies: The role of perceived threat." Social and Personality Psychology Compass 16.5 (2022): e12666. online
  • Kraus, Michael W., Brittany Torrez, and LaStarr Hollie. "How narratives of racial progress create barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations." Current opinion in psychology 43 (2022): 108-113. online
  • Monea, Nino. "Next on the Chopping Block: The Litigation Campaign against Race-Conscious Policies Beyond Affirmative Action in University Admissions." (SSRN 4440549, 2023) online
  • Nakamura, Brent K., and Lauren B. Edelman. "Bakke at 40: How diversity matters in the employment context." UC Davis Law Review 52 (2018): 2627-2679. online
  • Pierce, Jennifer. Racing for innocence: Whiteness, gender, and the backlash against affirmative action (Stanford University Press, 2012).online
  • Portocarrero, Sandra, and James T. Carter. "Diversity initiatives in the US workplace: A brief history, their intended and unintended consequences." Sociology Compass 16.7 (2022): e13001. online
  • Reza, Fawzia. Diversity and Inclusion in Educational Institutions (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2022)
  • Roberson, Quinetta M. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Diversity and Work (2013) online
  • Rubio, Philip F. A History of Affirmative Action, 1619-2000 (University Press of Mississippi, 2001), a Black perspective
  • Russell, Princess M. "From Affirmative Action to Diversity and Inclusion: Exploring Diversification Efforts among African American Faculty at Ivy League Universities in a State of Anti-affirmative Action Regulatory Environment" (EdD dissertation,  Northcentral University; ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2022. 28964683).
  • Russen, Michelle, and Mary Dawson. "Which should come first? Examining diversity, equity and inclusion." International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 36.1 (2024): 25-40. online
  • Sanger, Catherine Shea et al. eds. International Diversity and Inclusion: Innovative Higher Education in Asia (Palgrave MacMillan. 2020)
  • Schwarzschild, Maimon and Heriot, Gail L. "Race Preferences, Diversity, and Students for Fair Admissions: A New Day, a New Clarity" (January 16, 2024). SMU Law Review, Forthcoming (2024), San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 24-003, online
  • Sherry, Suzanna. "DEI and Antisemitism: Bred in the Bone" Vanderbilt University Law School Legal Studies Research Paper Series Working Paper Number 24-4 (January 23, 2024). online
  • Smithsimon, Gregory. Liberty Road: Black Middle-Class Suburbs and the Battle Between Civil Rights and Neoliberalism (NYU Press, 2022) online.
  • Soucek, Brian. "Diversity Statements." UC Davis Law Review 55#4 (2021): 1989-2062. Controversy regarding statements required of university faculty. online
  • Stephenson, Jacqueline H. et al eds. Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion in Caribbean Organisations and Society: An Exploration of Work, Employment, Education, and the Law (Springer International, 2020)
  • Tatli, Ahu. "A multi‐layered exploration of the diversity management field: diversity discourses, practices and practitioners in the UK." British Journal of Management 22.2 (2011): 238-253.
  • Tavares, Vander, et al. eds. Critical and Creative Engagements with Diversity in Nordic Education (Lexington, 2023)
  • Taylor, Alecia. "3 Ways That Anti-DEI Efforts Are Changing How Colleges Operate" Chronicle of Higher Education (January 18, 2024)
  • Thurber, Timothy M. "Racial Liberalism, Affirmative Action, and the Troubled History of the President's Committee on Government Contracts." Journal of Policy History 18.4 (2006): 446-476.
  • Urofsky, Melvin I. The Affirmative Action Puzzle: A Living History From Reconstruction to Today (2020); online book; also see New York Times book review
  • Weiss, Robert John. "We want jobs: a history of affirmative action" (PhD dissertation, New York University; ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  1985. 8604096).
  • Weiss, Robert J. "Affirmative Action: A Brief History" Journal of intergroup relations (1987), 15#2 p.40-53; ISSN: 0047-2492
  • Wood, Peter W. Diversity: The Invention of a Concept (2003) an attack by a conservative anthropologist. online
  • Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni M. The case for affirmative action on campus: Concepts of equity, considerations for practice (Stylus Publishing, 2009), with timeline. online.

Primary sources

  • Robinson, Jo Ann, ed. Affirmative action: a documentary history (2001)
  • "DEI Legislation Tracker" from Chronicle of Higher Education. Tracks state legislation that would close DEI offices, ban mandatory diversity training; prevent colleges from using DEI statements in hiring and promotion; or bar them for considering race, sex, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions or employment. Free subscription.
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