What Is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Over the past several years, the phrase “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” or DEI, has become a commonly-used catchphrase in academia, in government, and in corporate America. But what does it actually mean?

At first blush, DEI may sound benign. As to “diversity,” Christians believe in the intrinsic value and worth of every human being, regardless of race, color, or nationality (see Romans 10:12). “Equity,” in its Biblical context, is something for which every Christian should strive. The Lord calls upon His people to be doers of justice (see Micah 6:8). In Psalm 67:4, the Psalmist writes: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.” Regarding “inclusion,” James 2:1-9 states that the poor are to be welcomed into the community of believers. Followers of Christ must not show favoritism.

Unfortunately, however, the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion currently in vogue among secular leftists—a concept that has very quickly become entrenched and institutionalized—has nothing to do with Biblical justice. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Matthew Spalding explains: “Diversity is no longer a term to describe the breadth of our differences but a demand to flatter and grant privileges to purportedly oppressed identity groups. Equity assigns desirable positions based on race, sex and sexual orientation rather than character, competence and merit. Inclusion now means creating a social environment where identity groups are celebrated while those who disagree are maligned.” According to Mike Gonzalez of The Heritage Foundation: “The goal [of DEI] is to guarantee an equality of outcomes, which used to be the Marxist goal, not the American one. [DEI violates] American ideals and laws. Diversity is all but a call for quotas, which are illegal. Inclusion violates the First Amendment. Equity violates the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

The DEI movement is objectionable for many, many reasons. First, DEI labels people based upon their group affiliations instead of treating them as individuals. Second, in a misguided effort to promote equity, DEI calls for preferential treatment for members of certain groups. Preferential treatment is divisive and wrong, regardless of which direction it goes; two wrongs do not make a right. Third, DEI wholeheartedly embraces the LGBT agenda. Fourth, DEI places a low value on free speech and pressures dissenters into conformity with its teachings.

Writing for WORLD, Craig A. Carter notes that the true purpose of DEI “is not what you might think. Its real goal is to decrease diversity of thought, exclude anyone who dissents from the party line, and deny fairness to those who stand in its way. Its effects are the opposite of its language.”