DEIJ: Are we there yet? | Byron Turner | 12 Min Read

September 16, 2024

The Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision can reasonably stand as the beginning of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (Justice). The path winds through the Civil Rights Movement and Affirmative Action to the election of an African American President of the United States and today’s formal DEI programs at many public and private institutions. The question for us today is where does the road end? What conditions must be met before we declare victory and go home? It is my contention that our failure to ask that question three decades ago has amplified a backlash that could wipe away most of the gains that have been made. 

I think it is fair to say that no reasonable and knowledgeable person believes that DEI(J) is a threat to any group or individual. But just as the word “equality” was once considered a dire threat to white supremacy and male supremacy from the 50s through 80s, “equity” and especially “justice” sound very ominous to those who, consciously or not, hear them as an attack on the unearned privileges they enjoy. In the famous “blue eyes, brown eyes” exercise depicted in A Class Divided, teacher Jane Elliott divides her…

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Byron Turner

Byron Turner began his career at Humboldt State University as a student activist and later a Lecturer. He’s the author of Created Equal: Sex and Gender, believed to be the world's first multimedia, computer-based “textbook.” He has taught or counseled students at every level from elementary to graduate school, including three years at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont. He’s recently retired from teaching high school history.