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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Review...

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Review is Necessary

By: Shad White - April 21, 2023

State Auditor Shad White (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File - Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DEI programs have regularly proven to lead to division, not inclusion. Taxpayers deserve to know what their money is being spent on.

Recently, my office instructed Mississippi universities to report how much they are spending on so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) programs. That was enough to send liberal columnist Bill Crawford into a tailspin.

Crawford claims I’m on a “witch hunt.” He found a nameless “Republican operative” who said I, like Gov. Ron DeSantis, was “overreach[ing].”

So, let’s take a closer look – and for the record, I don’t give a flip about what an anonymous “Republican operative” says. 

“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” programs have a cute little name. Whoever put these words together may as well have put “and puppies and daffodils” at the end of the title. The truth is that DEI programs are often far from wholesome. They have regularly proven to lead to division, not inclusion.

Here are some examples:

  • At a recent DEI training at the Coca-Cola Corporation, employees were told to “try to be less white.”
  • A man named Christopher Rufo uncovered that DEI training at Bank of America taught employees the United States is built on “white supremacy.” 
  • Rufo showed Wal-Mart’s DEI team told workers they have “internalized white supremacy.” 
  • Rufo also found a video of a Disney staff meeting where a top producer said her way of advancing diversity was to try “adding queerness” to children’s programming.
  • The Trump Administration stopped DEI training for federal employees when they found trainers taught employees that “virtually all White people contribute to racism.” The list goes on.

But never fear. Bill Crawford has decided, without looking at any of the DEI training at Mississippi universities, that all DEI programs “have a place and positive role in Mississippi universities.” All good, he says. Nothing to see here.

My position on this is simple: the ideas stated above from DEI trainings are evil. They tear us apart, not bring us together. I hope not all DEI programs are this bad, but as a starting point, taxpayers have a right to know how much they’re paying for these programs. 

“But Shad,” you might say, “those crazy ideas can’t make their way to Mississippi.” You might argue the DEI programs in Mississippi are all above board. That’s a dangerous assumption.

The ideas in the examples above are pernicious. They could absolutely be taught at our universities.

A few months ago, I discovered Mississippi libraries had many books with these sorts of concepts for children – and taxpayers paid for the books. One such book called “Not My Idea” is a children’s book that teaches kids that “Whiteness is a bad deal.” You purchased that book with your tax dollars, and now it’s scattered across Mississippi libraries. 

And I can promise you there are some professors at our Mississippi universities who spread a woke ideology that most Mississippians find reprehensible. 

Going back to Crawford, he belongs to a group I call the Aging White Liberals (AWLs). AWLs often claim they were once Republicans to try to earn a bit of conservative credibility. They’ve been asleep for the last few years and have missed how insane young liberals have become. They tell the rest of us to calm down and ignore the spread of the young liberals’ explosive ideas (men should be allowed to play women’s sports, Antifa burning buildings is “mostly peaceful,” etc.). To worry about this is to worry about “fake issues,” says Crawford.

And the AWLs have nothing to lose because they don’t have kids in public school libraries, who play girls sports, or who will attend Mississippi universities. Who cares if the tots have to hear ideas they don’t like? Who cares if the girls get beat? Who cares if the students are brainwashed? Just let it all happen, say the AWLs. 

Conservatives, young and old, and particularly the parents of young children like me, are not so easily fooled. We need to know what’s being spent on these programs. I won’t sit by and let taxpayer dollars fuel the indoctrination of the next generation. Not my kids, and not on my watch. 

“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity…”Ezekiel 33:6

About the Author(s)
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Shad White

Shad White was appointed as the 42nd State Auditor of Mississippi in July 2018 and won election to the office in 2019. Prior to becoming Auditor, he served as a special prosecutor, winning ethics cases against politicians who broke the law, and earned a certificate in forensic accounting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. White, a Certified Fraud Examiner, earned degrees from the University of Mississippi, the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and Harvard Law School. He also serves in the military as a Captain in the Mississippi National Guard.