Monday, March 11, 2019

It is All Pretty Words and Shell Games

Who is accountable?
For DEI: Nobody!

Holding Cultural Petting Zoos is Easier than Creating Equitable Institutional Structures.  Many institutions are stuck in a loop of cultural events that consist of food tasting and traditional dress modeling, etc...As if the mere exposure to such multicultural aspects would cure racism overnight.  Of course, these events do have a place, but they can't be relied upon to create progress in a historically white institution.

I've been thinking about this for a long time and it really comes down to accountability and value.

Claiming Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a part of a traditionally white educational institution or organization is a benefit most schools have taken.  Schools have the benefits of doing something without actually having to make any real changes as there is literally no accountability, nor credibility.

The above claim is damaging to people of color  and other oppressed groups because it puts out the issue, but doesn't really seek a solution.  In the end--all sides are frustrated and race and other oppressive relations and structures remain the intact.

And the worst part of this is that it is all built on the backs of POC and other marginalized people.

We are meant to represent ALL people of color and when and if we screw up we are so severely punished that it sets a psychological example for others on all sides.  In the end--POC and other oppressed groups--raise their hopes, but are constantly let down--because there is no real accountability for DEI to the admin, faculty, staff, nor the organization.

Here is a sarcastic take on DEI in educational institutions and organizations:

Benefits of DEI inclusion on organization mission statements.
  • Increased reputation
  • Increased student enrollment
  • Increased administrative pay
  • No accountability
  • No real changes required 
  • Huge ROI with little to no effort
  • White people feel great
  • All of this built on the pain and suffering of POC at your institution
  • Implement now for highest returns
  • Organizations don't have to value DEI work by staff members
The above bullets are satirical, but they are based on my experience working in large educational institutions and national professional groups.   

Accountability and transparency are vital.

We must have accountability for DEI progress, or lack thereof within organizations and institutions.

We must have real change in faculty, administration and staff representation.  

We must demand that resources are spent on DEI if they are part of a mission statement.

We must demand that POC are not the only ones expected to have a stake in this work.

We must demand that DEI work is valued and counts toward tenure and other professional advancement opportunities.

We must require our organizations and institutions to live up to their mission statements when it comes to DEI.  

Callout a lack of DEI progress.

We must hold our leaders accountable for progress or lack thereof when DEI is part of a mission statement.

DEI should be part of performance assessments, budgets, organizational goals and other concrete planning for any educational institution or organization.

Stop AAPI Hate!