Writing in the New York Times, political commentator David French — a Harvard-trained lawyer with such conservative bona fides as tenure at the National Review — calls out billionaire Elon Musk for throwing fuel on an anti-DEI fire while having “zero evidence” for his claim. French cites Musk’s social media provocation that the recent in-air malfunction of a United Airlines Boeing jet was possibly the result of a focus on diversity hiring at the airline and the manufacturer.
Anti-DEI activists contend that replacing merit solely with considerations of race and/or gender in hiring hinders effectiveness and quality, but French writes that there’s little evidence that such qualification substitution is what DEI is actually doing, or — more acutely — that diversity in the workplace had anything to do with the recent malfunction in the skies.
Musk stipulates his beliefs on the issue succinctly in a mid-December tweet below.
“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” are propaganda words for racism, sexism and other -isms.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2023
This is just as morally wrong as any other racism and sexism. Changing the target class doesn’t make it right!
…after a door plug blew off a Boeing 737 Max 9 jet this month, X’s Elon Musk, among others, launched a series of tirades against D.E.I. The idea, if it can be called that, was that efforts to diversify airline work forces had contributed to the accident. The problem was that there was zero evidence that these efforts had anything to do with it.David French
[NOTE: Musk might be expected to understand, given some of Tesla’s manufacturing issues, that manufacturing perfection is elusive even when the boss is anti-DEI.]
Those “others” French cites include Donald Trump Jr., who voiced — with skillful emulation of his father’s mannerisms and intonation — an equally evidence-free assertion that DEI was making air travel more dangerous.
French laments that DEI has become “yet another catchall boogeyman” and “a scapegoat for unrelated crises.” This troubles French because, like all generalizations, it obscures real issues that might be addressed.
Specifically French asserts that while diversity, equity and inclusion are desirable traits of a successful society (undesired by only a small subsection of the American electorate), he also suggests that the methods to achieve those laudable goals need refinement — and that the types of DEI policies currently in place may not be the proper tools.
The current policies also, the lawyer in French adds, may not in some cases meet the legal standards the country espouses — though clearly nor did the laws that helped create the perilous inequality in the first place. As sports fans and referee critics know, a makeup call can be just, but not right on its merits.
French: “The danger posed by D.E.I. resides primarily not in these virtuous ends, but in the unconstitutional means chosen to advance them.”
Musk wrote: “It will take an airplane crashing and killing hundreds of people for them to change this crazy policy of DIE [sic].” He later amplified an X post that read “Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety? That is actually happening.”