It has been perverted to be anti-white, antisemitic

“The more I learned, the more concerned I became, and the more ignorant I realized I had been about DEI, a powerful movement that has not only pervaded Harvard but the educational system at large. I came to understand that diversity, equity, and inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant.” — Bill Ackman, Pershing Square Capital Management

My firm, throughout its history, has always been noted for its number of visible minority lawyers. I have never employed them because of their skin colour, but because they were the best lawyers available. As an added bonus, they appealed to those in their minority communities, a rapidly growing segment of Toronto that, just like all the others, had workers being fired and employers doing the firing. And that was good for business.
So, for decades, I unwittingly saw the benefits of diversity, equity and inclusion before it became a coined term. And like Bill Ackman, I naively thought the words meant, well, what they mean. And I was always proud that my firm fit the bill.
I first became concerned about DEI seminars when Jewish employees (and others) came to me complaining that the sessions that they attended were overtly discriminatory against Jews and Caucasians. And that some employers, particularly public sector ones, were holding positions open for certain groups without the potential for others to even be considered, regardless of merit or seniority. Although that purportedly breached the Human Rights Code, as it did not fall within the code’s very narrow exception for affirmative action, many employers, particularly universities and municipalities, were doing it with apparent impunity for a broad range of positions.
Outrage became satire became tragedy — and became revelatory when Richard Bilkszto, a veteran Toronto principal and progressive gay man, was publicly shamed in front of his coworkers by a particularly outrageous anti-racism trainer, Kike Ojo-Thompson. Pronounced as a racist for questioning whether Canada was really more racist than the United States (a place where he had previously taught and knew well), Bilkszto, according to his family, took his life as a result of Ojo-Thompson’s taunts. Ojo-Thompson had received $81,000 from the Toronto District School Board for this “training” a sole-sourced contract handed to her by Colleen Russell-Rawlins who is now the TDSB’s director of education. This despite TDSB’s policy against sole-sourced contracts when there are other providers. Insidious.
So, while there is nothing wrong with and very much to celebrate about DEI as it was intended to be, there is a lot wrong with the anti-white, antisemitic, left-wing bias of most of its radical “consultants,” whose seminars create racial divide and are themselves racist. Employers should cease using these consultants and hire those instead who teach DEI as it was intended.
An ideology dividing the world into oppressor and oppressed based on skin colour alone is not only inherently racist but breeds resentment and conflict. Its philosophy is that any program leading to unequal outcomes among people with different skin colour is racist thereby making any merit-based system racist. And if you take issue with it, you too are deemed a racist which, in cancel culture is the vocational kiss of death. If you express a dissentient viewpoint, you, like Richard Bilkszto, are fair game for attack. All of this leads to self-censorship, much as the College of Psychologists’ discipline of my client Jordan Peterson for tweeting his political opinions has lead to self-censorship among regulated professionals and tradespeople fearful of meeting his fate.
Companies, to succeed, must be meritocratic as well as welcoming of diverse viewpoints from people with diverse backgrounds. But many current DEI practitioners oppose meritocracy as inconsistent with equality of outcome. And that is bad both for employee morale and for a company’s financial wellbeing. The attacks of Oct. 7, which lead to an outpouring of antisemitism and revealed the intellectual close-mindedness at our best universities, lead to a rethinking by many of the principles of DEI as it has been practised by its cadre of largely left-wing trainers and proponents. During the appearance before the U.S. Congress of the presidents of Harvard University (a DEI hire in which no one who did not meet DEI criteria was interviewed), the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, elected officials argued that those schools’ diversity programs were the root cause of the antisemitic rhetoric on campus.
But the pushback against DEI preceded Oct. 7, with North American companies eliminating scores of DEI positions and more than 20 U.S. states putting forward new laws taking dead aim at the practice, including the banning of DEI offices in public institutions. A LinkedIn study found that chief diversity and inclusion officer positions grew by 168.9 percent from 2019 to 2022. But in 2023, according to a Revelio study, one third of DEI professionals lost their jobs.
There is a desperate need to return DEI to actual diversity, true inclusivity and true equity, not the radical leftism that DEI in its present form generally espouses. There is increasing sentiment supporting such a return. It is starting with efforts to do away with the legions of overpaid consultants perverting companies and of administrators “cancelling” free thought on campuses.
The outpouring in large numbers of the credulous left supporting the Hamas hate rallies on our streets has caused a further awakening for many, astonished at the outpouring of antisemitism even before Israel invaded Gaza. Who could have imagined, four months ago, massive cheering on our streets following the rape of civilian women and the beheading of babies? The form of DEI promulgated by universities and some institutions helped pave the way for that response.

Let employers terminate the current DEI consultants and hire those qualified to teach actual diversity, equity and inclusion — the kind my law firm always has practised.