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To embrace ‘colorblind’ excellence, colleges must abandon DEI: Heather Mac Donald

American colleges and universities should eliminate DEI “fiefdoms” in order to achieve excellence and recognize the real sources of group disparities.

“The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) bureaucracy is the nemesis of the Enlightenment ideal of [universal] knowledge,” wrote Heather Mac Donald (pictured), an author and Manhattan Institute fellow, for City Journal.

The April 11 City Journal essay was adapted from Mac Donald’s own statements at a MIT debate arguing for the proposition, “Resolved, that academic DEI programs should be abolished.” The MIT Adam Smith Society and the MIT Free Speech Alliance co-hosted the event, The College Fix reported.

The DEI apparatus “puts relentless pressure on every academic department to hire on the basis of race and sex, not on the basis of intellectual achievement,” Mac Donald argued:

Every faculty search today is a desperate effort to find even remotely qualified minority or female candidates. Being female or a non-Asian minority confers an enormous advantage in the hiring and tenure process.

Yet despite this obsessive attention to diversity, many departments still do not pass the DEI proportionality test. So DEI bureaucrats are on a crusade to extirpate the sources of bias that allegedly stand in the way of proportional representation. Every colorblind objective test of academic skills—SAT, LSAT, or MCAT—is under attack as racist and is going down…

Thanks to DEI ideology, we are opting for diversity over meritocracy. Indeed, diversity is simply a code word for preferences. But those preferences do not do their alleged beneficiaries any favors.

Mac Donald went on to say that DEI ideology falsely claims college race disparities are founded entirely on discrimination rather than in differences in academic skills, a gap that begins with the miseducation of black students in grade school or before.

“It is the academic skills gap which gives rise to the entire academic diversity apparatus,” Mac Donald elaborated April 5 in an email to The Fix. “The purpose of that apparatus is to re-cast the inevitable academic struggles of students admitted with large racial preferences into struggles with racism.”

“Nothing a DEI administrator does can possibly solve the academic skills gap problem, which begins to manifest itself in the earliest years of a child’s life.”

The DEI bureaucracy is “founded on a lie — one that teaches one that teaches students to think of themselves as victims and to see racism where none exists,” Mac Donald wrote in the City Journal article. “It [creates] through racial preferences the very divisions and discomfort that it purports to solve, in an endless, vicious circle.”

Mac Donald serves on The College Fix Advisory Board.

IMAGE: Manhattan Institute

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