The DEI Dieback

In nature, a useless species that over reproduces due to an unnatural condition in its environment that protects it from the laws of nature, like pigeons in big cities, is vulnerable to a dieback. So too DEI or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultants, are facing their own dieback.

Like the Norway Rat or the Great American Bedbug, DEI executives suddenly popped up at every Fortune 500 company in the aftermath of George Floyd’s drug overdose death. They subjected employees to racist unconscious bias training, warped product lines and corporate communications to reflect leftist politics, and could be found sitting in First Class seats while flying to DEI conferences all around the country to coordinate with more of their kind.

Now the DEI dieback has arrived.

One survey revealed that company events and bonuses are cut first, followed by diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. Only 5% of recruiters say that DEI is a priority.

DEI job listings fell by a fifth last year and the woke collapse is accelerating.

In a tough economy, corporations are cutting waste and nothing is more wasteful than people who do nothing except Zoom seminars in which they somehow try to string buzzwords like “impactful”, “representation” and “best practices” into a 15 minute presentation.

In a refreshing revival of best practices, the representatives of representation are being impactfully kicked out on their asses. DEI execs had notoriously short tenures at major corporations, leaving before anyone could realize how useless they were, but now they are exiting almost as quickly as woke Disney movies are bombing at the box office.

Speaking of the mangy mouse, Disney’s chief diversity officer, Latondra Newton, who had started out as a Toyota executive before transitioning to telling creative people what race characters should be through the Reimagine Tomorrow program, has left.

The racist 2024 Oscar eligibility rules require that a major actor in a movie be from the right kind of minority group and that the theme of the movie must be focused on gay people or minorities. That automatically bars WWII movies from consideration unless they cast a black Hitler.

Sadly, Jeanell English, the executive VP of impact and inclusion at the Academy, is also gone.

“Despite my successes, this work has not been easy. These paths are often lonely, uphill battles. Leaders in these positions need the support, love, and advocacy while they are in the roles, not only when their departures make headlines. This is what we should also mean when we say #protectblackwomen,” she whined on social media.

It’s hard out there when you’re destroying people’s lives and careers in between posting red carpet glamor shots at movie premieres.

The California Legislative Black Caucus responded to the departures of Newton, English, Warner Bros Discovery’s Karen Horne and a number of other top Hollywood DEI bosses by threatening the entertainment industry.

“We are here today, calling on industry executives to meet with the state legislative black caucus and leaders in the coming weeks to explain what is behind this erasure,” State Sen. Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas demanded.

The answer is pretty simple, much like Lola Smallwood-Cuevas, they’re worthless parasites.

Times are tough, especially in Hollywood and the tech industry, which led the way in DEI, and so the most worthless, useless, corrosive and vapid idiots are finally being tossed overboard.

And it’s happening all over.

The Wall Street Journal reported that there was 40% higher turnover among chief diversity officers and recruiting is sharply down in an article headlined, “The Rise and Fall of the Chief Diversity Officer”. Even colleges where leftist politics appears to be immune to economic realities have begun scaling down DEI efforts. Between state crackdowns and tightening belts, there’s less money to spend on hiring people to scream all day about the evils of white people.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down systemic racism in college admissions has also made all sorts of DEI systemic racism proponents nervous about the legal implications. If diversity no longer covers discriminating by race in college admissions, it may not hold up when discriminating by race in hiring and promotions at workplaces. And that’s a scary thought.

Democrat state attorney generals, led by New York Attorney General Letita James, who allowed criminals to overrun the state while targeting Trump and the NRA, wrote a letter telling corporate leaders that “corporate efforts to recruit diverse workforces and create inclusive work environments are legal and reduce corporate risk for claims of discrimination.”

The last could be viewed as a legal protection racket. And that’s what HR and its DEI little sister have always been. But one obvious problem with DEI is that it has only added more risk.

No major company has spent as much or worked as hard on DEI as Starbucks. It has rolled out quotas, tied executive compensation to DEI goals and vowed to spend $1.5 billion with “diverse” supplies. By 2025, 30% of Starbucks corporate and 40% of retail jobs were supposed to be reserved for black people: numbers that are far out of proportion to the national population.

In reality those goals are nowhere close to being met and the stale coffee chain has been battered by lawsuits including over its illegal systemically racist DEI promotion policies and a white manager who was punished over a famous viral racism claim from 2018 in a store where she wasn’t even present at the time was awarded over $25 million in a discrimination claim. Meanwhile the company is besieged by unionization efforts and NLRB rulings from the Left.

Even the two obnoxious women, one white and one black, who cashed in on making the Starbucks 2018 video go viral through careers in anti-racism broke up and turned on each other.

“We were used to putting speaking dates on the calendar months ahead of time. Then it began to go dry,” one of them complained. DEI is going dry and the parasites are eating each other.

Starbucks has become a cautionary tale for corporations, in some ways as much as Disney or Bud-Light, warning that even without a major boycott or sales decline, DEI is unrewarding. The money and energy expended on DEI has alienated old customers without winning new ones. DEI employment quotas have added minorities to executive offices but DEI goals across the workplace have faltered. And when faced with setbacks, diversity officers have lashed out at their employers rather than acting like team players. What’s happening now is inevitable.

Corporate wokeness is far from dead, but it’s been deemed externally unpopular and internally ineffective. Few corporate leaders can point to any kind of DEI successes and rhetoric that appeared inspiring in 2020 now just seems dated and irrelevant. Investors expect CEOs to show how they’re cutting costs and managing resources and no one is impressed by words.

DEI, like other forms of virtue signaling, made companies seem as if they were about something more than the filthy business of making money.. But now no one has any patience for reputation laundering and a preoccupation with virtue signaling becomes suspect to bottom line investors.

As it always should have been.

The outsize influence of state and union pension funds means that virtue signaling won’t disappear, but between conservative lawsuits, red state regulations and activist investors, it’s no longer unopposed. And there are cheaper ways to buy off the California Legislative Black Caucus than allowing one of their friends to destroy a company’s reputation and business.

Somewhere under the Alaskan ice lie samples of the Spanish Flu and there are constant worries over a smallpox comeback. Some mosquitoes can live for 100 days without blood. So like most parasites, DEI won’t just die off, but it is dying back. It reproduced beyond the limits of its food source and now its professionals are looking for new jobs and fresh victims.

Brother, won’t you spare a job for a diversity consultant.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Anonymous10/9/23

    Apparently that old filthy business of making money is what business is about. Gosh I miss the days when businesses offered good product and service in exchange for my money. Life used to be less complicated.

  2. So let's accept that DEI is dying in the private sector. Government bureaucracies are too often where bad ideas go on to thrive forever. Here is one example:

    Please poll some fellow commentators who cover legal issues: Why have American lawyers failed to file suits against ANY level of govt agency for violating the constitution's banning religious tests to obtain a public position?

    DEI, CRT, all such secular BELIEFS have the attributes of religion and so demands to adhere to such beliefs ought to be attacked simply because the demand to adhere to beliefs is explicitly vulnerable.

    I’m no lawyer, but I understand my right not to be FORCED to accept the beliefs of others.

    Heck, find some lawyer who is willing to defend their profession in this shortcoming. Their reputation can't be tarnished any further with the public while they'll gain points with the ABA.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Meanwhile, the DEI bureaucracy continues to grow and expand it's tentacles in postsecondary education, including medical professional programs.

  5. Anonymous12/9/23

    With the left nothing is ever finished. As truth and reality crush their narratives of the moment they just put them on a back burner waiting for a new crop of young, arrogant, and ignorant useful idiots to emerge. Then they put it on a front burner at high heat all over again. No crisis must ever be wasted or thrown away, no matter how stupid or dishonest it may be.


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