Diversity and Equity Trends 2023 – by Marc Brenman

What we can anticipate and expect

The current Supreme Court will continue to whittle away at civil and human rights. Advocates will continue to sign petitions, march, and hold demonstrations, as if these activities would cause the federal judiciary to change its mind. They won’t. 

The US will continue to become more diverse, especially by Hispanics and Asian-Americans. More people will identify as multi-racial. The percent of African-Americans will continue to remain relatively constant. However, despite this, the diversity practitioner and CDO field will continue to be dominated by African-American women. 

The Chief Diversity Officer function will continue not to be represented at the executive team table along with other mission critical functions. 

The giving of awards to companies for alleged diversity success will continue—even when 80% of the companies have very undiverse executive teams. 

Many diversity practitioners claim great success without evidence to back up their statements, except for “feel good” survey results from training participants.

Diversity practitioners will continue to claim that diverse companies make more money than other companies. These studies will continue to leave out the very undiverse companies in Silicon Valley, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Japan, and China that are making money hand over fist. 

Many diversity practitioners will continue to provide training and “solutions” for implicit or unconscious bias, even though it’s a neurological phenomenon, is by definition unconscious,  almost no one knows how to counteract it, and despite the evidence that tampering with it in an inexpert way can awaken unconscious bias and put it out in the open.

More evidence will continue to be found of various kinds of discrimination against Hispanics and African-Americans, especially in healthcare and house purchases.

There will continue to be a huge disparity in African-American vs. white family wealth.  

Every article in a newspaper, magazine, or social media platform on civil rights, affirmative action, and diversity topics will continue to garner large numbers of hateful statements in the response section below the article. 

About 48% of the American electorate will continue to vote for Trump, Trumpites, his followers, his cultists, and other extreme rightwing characters. Thus, democracy in the US will continue to be under serious threat. 

Despite reforms of marijuana laws, African-Americans will continue to be overrepresented in the prison population. The criminal justice system is too complicated for any kind of a quick fix. But overall, the best way to stay out of prison is to not commit crimes.

Social justice advocates will continue to place great emphasis and dismay on police shootings of African-Americans, even though the numbers are very small compared to shootings of African-American neighborhood people by other neighborhood people. This is a symptom of a public policy development problem where magnitudes are not sufficiently considered. 

I have noticed that some social justice advocates say things like “Whites are guilty of X,” or “Men engage in this bad practice…” One hopes they mean just the guilty parties, and not entire classes of people. Claiming a characteristic for the entire class of men or whites is just as bad as stereotyping entire classes of people or color or women. Thus, some social justice advocates will continue to not follow the principles that one does not cure racism by being racist or cure sexism by being sexist.

Transgender issues will continue to be difficult, without any easy answers. Sometimes the easy answers are run away from, such as ending the dichotomy between men’s and women’s sports. 

Many diversity practitioners will continue to avoid using other tools of social justice and fairness, such as equal employment opportunity, nondiscrimination laws/policies/practices/procedures, alternative dispute resolution, affirmative action, and complaint and grievance procedures. 

Silicon Valley and IT companies will continue to employ large numbers of young men from India on HiB visas instead of hiring IT graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Repeated studies show that people with disabilities vote Republican about half the time. But disability advocates claim that “people with disabilities are the largest minority.” However, this group of people is quite varied, and there is no unity among them. A problem with voting Republican is that the Republican Party supports almost no rights, services, or benefits for people with disabilities. The last Republican President who did was George H.W. Bush, who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thus, people with disabilities will continue to harm themselves by voting Republican about half the time. 

About 52% of white women voted for Trump for President. One can wonder why, since he was openly misogynistic. The level of white women voting Republican has dropped a little since Trump left office, but is still very high. The Republicans have taken many positions against the welfare of women, including denying health care associated with pregnancy and childbirth. White women will continue to harm themselves by voting Republican about 52% of the time.  

Hispanic men will continue to be peeled off to vote for Republicans, against their self-interest, but consistent with their family values, homophobia, entrepreneurialism, and economic conservatism. 

I sometimes ask organizations that are engaged in anti-racism endeavors what they have accomplished on the ground, numerically. I have never received an adequate answer. It appears that these organizations will continue to tout their success In anti-racism, while not being able to show any drop in racism on the ground, numerically. 

Many organizations, particularly governmental ones, will have equity programs, but not accomplish anything quantitatively to increase equity.

Some trends that have economically regressive effects on low income people, such as tolling of lanes, roads, bridges, and tunnels will continue to grow. There is substantial overlap between being African-American and Hispanic and being low income. 

Civil rights advocates will continue to try to use race-based criteria in affirmative action, even though it is subject to serious legal challenge, and even though using socio-economic status would accomplish about 80% of the desired objective, with almost no successful legal challenges possible. Thus, many of these advocates will continue to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

There will continue to be struggling efforts at reparations for African-Americans, without addressing serious and difficult implementation issues such as means testing, ascertaining who is eligible, and creating such programs in places where there was no slavery, and deducting previous and currently received benefits. 

Some issues of lack of equity will continue to be unaddressed, such as the undue political influence held by bicycle advocates, who are most young, white, male, and non-disabled. 

Disparities in educational achievement by African-Americans and Hispanics compared with whites and Asian-Americans will continue, despite efforts by many school districts. Many school districts and some entire states such as California will ignore the drop in achievement and school attendance caused by the pandemic, and instead will concentrate on ethnic studies, which have almost no evidentiary basis for improvement in achievement. 

The Internet will continue to make hate easier, to allow people to self-radicalize, and to band together in hate groups.  

Cancel culture, wokeness, and language/thought police will continue. 

Today, many people identify themselves and the demographic group they belong to as victims, as sufferers at the hands of others. This is so common and expressed so fervently as an article of faith that I have given the phenomenon a name– the secular religion of victimhood. One wonders what is accomplished by emphasizing being a victim. This position emphasizes failure, caused from without. Wouldn’t it be more useful to put more emphasis on what makes people successful? But alas, I predict that failure elements will continue to be emphasized more than success factors. 

Marc Brenman

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