4 Models of DEI

April 19, 2023

This week, there are multiple ways to think about DEI, the CEO of Uber spends time driving, and algebra must have been an easy subject for the Romans.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion has become a priority for organizations of all sizes, types, and industries. Surveys show that 3 in 4 job seekers prefer to work at companies that take diversity seriously.

As the pervasiveness of DEI has increased, so has the politically charged rhetoric surrounding it, but there is more than one way to think about this deep and boundless topic.

Read more on this in the Deep Dive Section below.

In the News

DEI and Political Partisanship: School districts that are located in liberal districts are 30% more likely than those in conservative areas to include DEI in their mission statements. (K-12 Dive

A Day in the Life: Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi recently spent some time as a driver, or “Partner” as they are called. (Wall Street Journal

  • He experienced first hand the rudeness of customers, the inconvenience of getting stuck in rush hour traffic, and the way it feels when drivers are penalized for not accepting rides.
  • Recently, the CEO of Starbucks did something similar. (LinkedIn News)

Will more CEOs follow their lead?

Coasting on the Job: Recently laid off tech workers confess that they didn’t really do much during their tenure. (Wall Street Journal)

Other News

We have another ‘shoutdown’ of a speaker on a US college campus. This time, the event happened at San Francisco State University. (FIRE)

The next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic could result in the migration of administrative jobs overseas. (Wall Street Journal)


Six Unsettling Features of DEI in K-12. (Dr. Tabia Lee – Free Black Thought – Substack)

A Deeper Dive – 4 Models of DEI

As covered in a previous newsletter, Dr. Tabia Lee was recently relieved of her duties at a community college. (Inside Higher Ed) She appeared on the TeachThought Podcast to discuss her dismissal and a few different ways we can think about race ideology and DEI initiatives. 

Dr. Lee outlined the following 4 schools of thought (this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all philosophies):

  1. Naturalism

Racial division and racism are natural parts of human existence and nothing should be done to fix them because they are just here. 

  1. Neo-Reconstructionism

Race is a socio-political construction that is baked into American life by white people who perpetuate racism to serve their interests. 

  1. Constructionism

Race is socially constructed and it should be eliminated. 

  1. Skeptical Eliminativism

Race is not a legitimate foundation of identity. Instead, it is a habit of mind that should be broken.

Her Story

Dr. Lee believes that her contract at a community college in California was not renewed because she questioned neo-reconstructionist, orthodoxical views on race. (Cato Institute)

She has since spoken out. Although she does not officially affiliate with any one particular school of thought, she advocates for recognition of the diverse perspectives within the broader space of DEI. She also cautions against taking any one perspective as ultimate truth without a more thorough examination.

“As a teacher and facilitator, I think that when we have a particular thing that we’re trying to push, it can limit the ability of our learners and our participants to be able to fully state how they feel and what’s true for them because then they begin to align with what the “expert” in the room is saying.”

Folks like Dr. Lee argue that we should think more critically about the topic and expand the size of the tent of people who can participate in the conversation.

Challenging the Orthodoxy

One could make a good-faith argument that the line here between expertise and activism is blurry at best. I do not know what really happened to Dr. Lee at the college, however, I found this conversation and the reported events surrounding this individual’s dismissal to be interesting.

Topics around DEI and race relations are complex. They are also politically and emotionally charged. Typically with intricate and controversial subject matter, more viewpoint diversity in the discussion is required for an optimal collective understanding. This sort of openness to discussion and debate is a hallmark of modern democracies.

The Closed-Door Framing

Instead, Dr. Lee and others describe a worrying and growing atmosphere of self-censorship and intimidation on college campuses. (Bi-Partisan Policy Center)

I found Dr. Lee’s approach in framing DEI to be useful and refreshing. It helped me reflect on how I personally feel about this important topic.

What I’m Reading

I Will Teach YOU to be Rich – Ramit Sethi

This is a phenomenal introduction to basic and intermediate personal finance. Ramit is an outspoken, witty, no nonsense kind of person with lots of candid advice to share. Whether you are a personal finance beginner or an expert, this is worth reading. 

What I’m Listening To

How managing your anxiety can make you a better leader HBR Ideacast – Harvard Business Review

Could your anxiety make you a more authentic leader? Author and podcast host, Morra Aarons-Mele explains how business leaders can use their anxiety for good, instead of letting it spiral out of control.

Quote of the Week

“The answer is more speech.” 

– Center for Academic Freedom

The Answer is More Speech

Articles of the Week

Adaptability is a modern key to success. (Tignum)

Want to get outside? That’s probably because your body knows it’s good for you. (ChanderBhan)

Here are some bad habits to be aware of when it comes to email communication. (Adam Grant – Substack)

From Deep Dive Careers: Replace the Illusion of Extrinsic Comparison with a Positive Intrinsic Focus

Lose your illusions, unless you want to live in an alternate reality.

Other Fun Stuff

6 in 10 pet owners prefer snuggling with their furry friend instead of their romantic partner. (StudyFinds)

Maybe it’s just a better angle, like a right sized pillow.

Or maybe it’s more. The same survey shows that 8 in 10 say their pet is their number 1 source of joy. 🤔

Dad Joke of the Week

Dada says: 

“I bet algebra was an extremely easy subject for the Romans. X was always 10.”

*This post may contain affiliate links. These help financially support the Deep Dive Careers platform.

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