Seminars, trainings, mentorships, and interactions both formal and informal are imbued with woke nomenclature. In their ordinary use, the words diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not political statements and do not connote a sense of moral identity and value. 

Instead, they simply mean what they’ve always meant: diversity is the idea that people are different not only because they come from different cultures and places but also because they hold different thoughts and ideas. Equity means a sense of fairness, implying the need for correction when things become too unequal. Inclusion means being kind to and accepting of differing people and ideas. 

Yet, in today’s context, these meanings now carry a new understanding that prioritizes reprisal. Today’s definitions not only do away with the above-defined universal values, but also create a new enemy. Whereas the old enemy was the proclivity of human beings not to love our neighbor, the new enemy is “Whiteness,” white privilege, the so-called “patriarchy,” and so on.

In schools, parents both black and white are vocally opposing these new terms. But when it comes to the business world, far fewer employees and business leaders are leading similar efforts. Perhaps the reason is fear of losing one’s livelihood. Nevertheless, the place where Americans spend a huge majority of their time — the workplace — is a primary space where these new definitions must be met, head-on.

Our workplaces are arguably among the top cultural institutions that give shape to our lives. Losing them to woke philosophy would be to the detriment of human flourishing.

To combat the trend, proponents of a more liberal (free) workplace environment can use three commonplace workplace practices: clarity, conflict, and conversation. 

Our workplaces are arguably among the top cultural institutions that give shape to our lives. Losing them to woke philosophy would be to the detriment of human flourishing.

Clear metrics and articulated expectations are critical if we want employees to thrive in the workplace. Yet, when it comes to DEI seminars and lectures, scant evidence exists that they help make employees better and more fruitful in their roles.

Yet, if organizations are going to demonstrate the necessity of woke education, they must do so with clarity. That is, they must answer questions that are both difficult and practical, like: 

“Are there specific expectations of how white employees must communicate with non-white employees?” 

“Is the company going to have differing sets of expectations for white employees compared to non-white employees?” 

“How should white supervisors treat the accomplishments or areas of improvement for their non-white subordinate?” 

And, conversely: “How should non-white supervisors treat the accomplishments or areas of improvement of their white subordinates?”

While some of these questions may sound cynical, they demand answers.

Like clear metrics, constructive conflict is an idea that has served businesses and management well — especially where discussions have a common language and intent is generally assumed to be positive. This generates win-win solutions.

Conflict can create the fertile ground for innovation. Yet, DEI does away with common language and amplifies negative intent where there might be none (think: silence is violence). Indeed, DEI stands in the way of developing new ideas because it imposes a framework that analyzes ideas in terms of racial differences rather than considers whether these ideas are objectively good or bad.

In fact, we are told that “objectivity” is a tool of white supremacy — and any measurement or analysis must take into account the subjective experience and “intersecting” identifies of the parties in play.

Is creating discomfort between employees based on the hue of their skin going to be valuable in the long run? The easy and moral answer is ‘NO’. 

Finally, a truly open and progressive work-space is a place where conversation can occur. DEI, on the other hand, requires the suppression of discomfort, particularly for those employees who are told they are beneficiaries of certain “privileges” walking in the door. DEI apologists say people of color have dealt with enough discomfort in all spaces, and particularly at their workplace, and the truths they present in their trainings will remain unquestioned — lest a certain employee be accused of aiding and abetting the patriarchy, white supremacy, or a litany of other systems no professional would want associated with their name. 

Even if that were true, the commonsense question to ask: is creating discomfort between employees based on the hue of their skin going to be valuable in the long run? The easy and moral answer is ‘NO’. 

Over the last decade, many companies have shifted to open spaces. But now they are closing their employees into metaphysical cubicles by engendering in their psyches the belief that their most immutable characteristics are the most essential in daily interactions.

It is wrong, it is backwards, and it deserves a response. Just as parents are speaking out against critical race theory and DEI efforts in education, leaders and employees in the business community must do the same.

Abhi Samuel is the Director of Entrepreneur Engagement at Commonwealth Partners, an O.V. Catto Fellow, a dad, and a soon-to-be Pennsylvania resident. Having grown up in a socialist nation, he believes free-markets and limited government are the greatest poverty eradication programs known to man.

Leave a (Respectful) Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *