Do Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Work?

COMMENTARY Civil Society

Do Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Work?

Feb 18th, 2021 1 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Gonzalez

Senior Fellow, Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Fellow

Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow in Heritage's Allison Center for Foreign Policy and the Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum fellow.
Throughout history, different ethnicities have been under- or over-represented in different fields for reasons that have nothing to do with racism. Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Approaching racial disparities in such a ham-fisted manner fails to address the underlying causes of poverty.

Equalized outcomes are unjust to all involved.

We mustn't pretend that all employment disparities are due to discrimination.

“Diversity” and “inclusion” have become terms with which the political left surreptitiously hijacks one of the best human traits, our impulse for compassion, in order to achieve its aims. Who could oppose diversity and inclusion, after all?

A lot of Americans, that's who—at least the ones who realize that the end goal is equalized outcomes, and that the means require coercive measures such as imposed quotas; unequal treatment based on race, sex or national origin; and sending people the corrosive message that they can only succeed when other people are forced to hire them, grant them a contract or admit them to university.

All these goals violate American ideals, if not actual law. Moreover, approaching racial disparities in such a ham-fisted manner fails to address the underlying causes of poverty. That is why “temporary measures,” such as the racial preferences of affirmative action, did not go away after six decades, but grow and grow — while failing to address disparities.

Equalized outcomes are unjust to all involved. Men have different talents and abilities; some also elect to work harder and longer than others or invest precious time gathering knowledge in remunerative fields. Some choose wisely, while others choose foolishly. In other words, some merit reward, while others require incentives to do better.

The Founders early on recognized that inequality of results was natural. In “Federalist 10,” James Madison observed that there was a “diversity in the faculties of men,” adding “the protection of these faculties is the first object of government.”

If disparities arise because of discrimination, the law must get involved. And, in fact, statutes on the books make it illegal to discriminate against individuals or entities in most areas of life because of the race, ethnicity, sex or national origin of the individual or owners. This is as it should be. Diversity that obtains organically, because of meritocracy, is a beautiful thing, moreover.

But we mustn't pretend that all employment disparities are due to discrimination. Throughout history, different ethnicities have been under- or over-represented in different fields for reasons that have nothing to do with racism. To force every office, plant floor, legislature or classroom to mirror the demographic proportions of the base population would require color-conscious methods.

And this is where enforced “diversity and inclusion” falls apart. Mandated numerical proportionalism would require race-conscious laws, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others have called for. We have already had “race-conscious laws” in this country. It didn't go well.

This piece originally appeared in CQ Researcher