Tyranny Through Subverting Language
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Movement: Tyranny Through Subverting Language
by Jay Schalin Mar 15, 2021
The political left has proven itself to be amazingly incompetent when it comes to governing. Examples abound of nations, states, and cities—even those with tremendous wealth, resources, and other advantages—reduced to nightmare zones of poverty, violence, and corruption. Think of Venezuela, Cuba, California, Detroit, and Baltimore.
Yet, there is one area in which the left excels to a remarkable degree: the attainment of power and advancement of its political aims.
Every year, every month, and every day, somewhere in the nation the left is implementing or proposing some action that will further its agenda. Consider the breakneck speed at which the Biden administration is dismantling its predecessor’s reforms and advancing the “woke” agenda. Instead of concerning itself with how to govern well, the left’s intellectual energies are spent on crafting tactics to exploit the weak spots in our electoral processes, our laws, and our policies. It has a vast array of weapons of its disposal, from Saul Alinsky’s organizing tactics to bureaucratic state encroachments on democracy to the anarchic violence of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and so forth.
One of the left’s most successful tactics is the manipulation of language. The meaning of words is gradually but deliberately changed to alter perceptions and to enable large policy and cultural changes to occur without much notice.
Academia is especially vulnerable to such linguistic subterfuge, and in the past year, many universities have greatly advanced the radical agenda through “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) policies. To most people who still understand those three words according to their traditional meanings, such policies sound benign or enlightening; many would be open to basing guidelines on them.
However, in the lexicon of today’s left-leaning academic bureaucracies, those words—taken individually or together—have new, specific meanings with a sinister bent.
The traditional definition of “diversity” generally means some sort of variation within a population. But it has undergone several transitions in recent times. First, it has been given a normative spin with connotations of goodness—“diversity is our strength,” for example—that Americans have largely accepted. But more recently, a second twist has occurred: The word “diversity” is now used as a descriptor for preferred demographic groups. An all-black gathering is considered to be diverse, while an all-white gathering is not. “Diverse” can even be used to describe an individual if they belong to the right demographic, a meaning that is completely incongruous and seems to be a contradiction of the word’s original definition.
“Equity” is perhaps the most troubling of the three terms. A Minding the Campus article discusses the etymology of the word; a close synonym of its historical meaning is “fairness.” And we’re all for fairness. But fairness, without context or further elaboration, is an elusive concept. Which version of fairness is meant? Is it based on pure meritocracy? Or maybe a sliding scale that mixes merit with indications of compassion and empathy? Or outright equality of outcomes?
According to the Minding the Campus article, “in the last several decades, and certainly in the last 5-10 years, the term equity has been stretched and twisted” into “a weapon to bludgeon our modern society into denying even the most basic differences between human beings.”
It now means that protected classes of people must have proportionate representation—or better—since “the mere fact that achievement gaps exist” between different demographic groups “is taken as proof that there is some inequity that must be remedied.” Those who use the word equity in this fashion invariably claim that the inequity is not due to the actions of individuals, but due to systemic bias, and that the structure of society or of an institution must undergo drastic changes to eliminate this bias.
This failure to defend our rights comes from a naïve ignorance of the left’s intentions, or from a lack of will to confront such determined opposition for personal security.
Read more at: The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal