‘America Is Under Attack’: Inside the Anti-D.E.I. Crusade, by Nicholas Confessore, New York Times | January 20, 2024
This attack against diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a totally work-shopped, strategic-planned, well-orchestrated, well-heeled attack, as laid bare by this New York Times investigation by Nicholas Confessore that consists of Freedom of Information requests of those in the center of this extremist, anti-civil rights agenda.: “America is Under Attack: Inside the Anti-D.E.I. Crusade by Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, January 20, 2024. Their “observations” are sprinkled throughout the document and are well worth reading, but you do have to subscribe to the newspaper to read them.
The irony is a strong critique that I and many others have had of our higher education institutions being so incredibly conservative. After all, higher education institutions are dominated by elites and the knowledge that is produced within them overwhelmingly reflects the interests and preferences of this very class!
Ever heard of the term, the “Ivory Tower?” Exactly. Elitism is what that phrase means. Were this not the case, we as minoritized researchers and faculty—where we are woefully underrepresented—wouldn’t be fighting from the margins for substantive inclusion in the higher education curriculum. Not that we’ve not made a modicum of progress, but rather that we are a far cry from a “leftist revolution.”
Moreover, to regard the left within academia as “anti-American zealots” smacks of what we REALLY should be concerned about, namely, “Red Scare politics,” that this attack represents—with its scurrilous, irresponsible rhetoric with echoes of McCarthyism, and the late Sen. Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee.
Moreover, these extremist think tanks, donors, politicians, and leaders hypocritically decry activism within academia while failing to own up to their own.
And boy, are these folks activists, manifesting a fear that makes them say ridiculous things that reveal their deep-seated anxieties. That’s precisely what this NYTimes piece is about. If they weren’t so dangerous, I’d feel sorry for them. A life filled with fearing the “other”—or “an-other”—that actually doesn’t want to hurt you or take anything away from you sounds so unnecessarily hard of a life to live.
From the diverse side of the anti-diversity equation, there is so much to appreciate, honor, and celebrate that these folks are willfully missing out on. The truth is obviously not all unicorns and rainbows, but as the Good Book says, the truth does set us free. Plus, they totally miss the mark of what a 21st-century, world-class K-12 and higher education system could be, one that provides general uplift to all of God’s creation.
Instead of seeking to engineer antagonistic perspectives toward the “other”—or “an-other”—let’s do what Jesus would do and discover love, caring, and compassion instead. Love vibrates at a higher level anyway, as opposed to hate-filled rhetoric that, by all indications, won’t motivate another generation. This is especially true if theirs is about repression through this raw exercise of power. What they propose isn’t appealing and never will be.
I wish I could cut and paste all the email comments that populate the NY Times interactive piece because they pull down the curtain on the current moment, revealing the cowering and conniving proverbial Wizard of Oz, together with the fear, resentment, and machinations that drive their behaviors and agenda. So pathetic. So sad.
This New York Times article is a keeper. I’m sharing it with my students and everyone I know who could use a bit of clarity regarding what’s afoot in higher education politics today.
Copyright 2024 by Angela Valenzuela. Here is a link to the article by Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times on January 20, 2024.