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DEI is an abbreviation for Diversity, equity, and inclusionWikipedia and refers to the practice of companies crafting policies to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.[1] These policies are an outgrowth of previous similar policies such as affirmative action, and were spurred by the murder of George Floyd in 2020.[2]

However, in the mid-2020s, there was a coordinated backlash against DEI from "conservative" reactionaries.

Manufactroversy background[edit]

This anti-DEI manufactroversy is an outgrowth of the similar manufactroversy of critical race theory, and many "anti-DEI" activists (such as Christopher Rufo of the Manhattan Institute) were likewise involved in the previous manufactured outrage cycle.[3]

Per a New York Times investigation in January 2024, the center of the coordinated effort to push anti-DEI propaganda came from the Claremont Institute,Wikipedia a once-small Reagan-esque think tank that turned authoritarian and illiberal during the presidency of Donald Trump.[4][5] As one would expect, many of the activists involved in crafting the propaganda (such as Heather Mac Donald) were openly homophobic and racist in their private conversations discussing their propaganda strategies.[4]

Like critical race theory, a key underpinning of the manufactroversy was to attack public education and other "liberal" higher education institutions.[4][note 1] Also like critical race theory, efforts to eliminate DEI programs are rooted in racism.[6]

DEI as a snarl word[edit]

Similar to the term "woke", in practice, when reactionaries use the term "DEI", they often ignore much of the original aspect of DEI being a business strategy. Instead, the term is often merely a snarl word to derisively refer to minority groups.[7] In many cases (Lee Atwater style), as with the case of Baltimore Mayor Scott below, the term "DEI" is merely a thinly-disguised substitution for nasty racial slurs.[8]


  • In 2024, the airplane manufacturer BoeingWikipedia made numerous headlines when several aircraft suffered critical mechanical failures, such as a door blowing off a plane in mid-flight. Elon Musk (of course) blamed "DEI hiring" and, without any proof, claimed that "people will die due to DEI."[9][note 2]
  • In a "smaller and sadder" echo of Gamergate, trolls on social media launched a (much smaller and much more pathetic) harassment campaign against the video game narrative consultant company[11] Sweet Baby Inc.Wikipedia The trolls were extremely angry that Sweet Baby purportedly were somehow forcing "political agendas and DEI into their games".[12] (Never mind Sweet Baby was tiny and consulted on only a handful of games. Also never mind the fact that many of the trolls hadn't even played the games they were complaining about… or even complained about many games that Sweet Baby Inc. were never involved in.)[13][note 3]
  • During the 2024 Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse,Wikipedia Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott,Wikipedia who is Black, was called a "DEI mayor"[note 4] on Twitter (despite being elected by the people like any other mayor).[8]

DEI as a business strategy[edit]

"I know DEI is a positive because I see its impact on bottom lines... I'm an entrepreneur and capitalist. I look for results. That's what I base my decisions on... Every single person on Twitter could disagree with me. I would still follow the results I see in my portfolio."
Mark CubanWikipedia defending DEI as not only being good for social justice, but also being good for the business bottom line.[15]

It is worth noting that many of the most staunch opponents of DEI, such as Jordan Peterson or Christopher Rufo, have little or no business or management experience. In reality, a significant amount of research has been done on diversity in the workplace and how it impacts the bottom line of businesses. In general, the research has shown that companies with greater diversity and inclusiveness at all levels significantly outperform those with less diversity.[16]

Studies have shown that DEI helps improve a business' competitive standing in the following ways:

  • DEI allows a business to understand and better engage their customers. This can help improve a product's market share.[17]
  • DEI strategies can help improve a company's reputation, which can be of particular benefit for more socially conscious consumers.[17][18] DEI likewise can have a positive impact on brand perception.[17]
  • DEI strategies can help improve employee recruitment and retention by ensuring that all employees have a fair and equal opportunity to succeed.[18] It also can be very beneficial to overall employee morale.[17][18]
  • DEI strategies can help improve business agility and innovation.[17]
  • DEI can help create a workplace where everyone can feel safe and respective, which gives employees permission to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to complex problems. This can lead to increased creativity; new perspectives that are not found in environments that lack diversity; increased collaboration; and more open communication.[18] A 2017 study found that fully diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time.[19]
  • DEI can help expose a company to fresh perspectives. This helps a company identify new clients, market niches, and other opportunities, and helps a company create solutions for clients with different perspectives, preferences, and needs.[20] In one study of venture capital (VC) organizations, lack of diversity was directly associated with homogeneous patterns of investment, which significantly decreased the success rate of these investments compared to more diverse VC organizations.[21]
  • DEI helps companies be more flexible, and adapt to changing conditions more easily.[22]

As a result, according to a survey performed in December 2023 by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company:Wikipedia

  • Companies with executive teams in the top quartile of gender diversity outperformed their peers by 39 percent.[23]
  • Companies with executive teams in the top quartile of ethnic diversity also outperformed their peers by 39 percent.[23]
  • More diversity in boards and executive teams was correlated to higher social and environmental impact scores.[23]
  • Companies with diverse leadership teams had greater overall involvement within their communities.[23]
  • Diverse leadership had a positive impact on a company's ethical disposition, community orientation, and the general image of a company.[23]

Nearly 9 out of 10 businesses reported in a March 2023 survey that DEI strategies delivered either a positive or very positive return to the bottom line. Only 2% of businesses found DEI strategies to have a negative impact.[17]


  1. It's like conservatives want their constituents to be stupid…
  2. Most sober analysis attributed Boeing's woes to management prioritizing finance metrics over quality engineering ever since Boeing merged with McDonnell DouglasWikipedia in 1997.[10]
  3. According to Sweet Baby CEO Kim Belair, the troll effort to make pariahs out of the small company actually seemed to have the opposite effect of further solidifying the company's relationship with their clients.[14]
  4. The author of the tweet in particular likely wanted to use a different word to refer to Scott though didn't due to it being too mask-off and revealing of the true views these kooks hold.


  1. "What is diversity, equity, and inclusion?". McKinsey and Company, 2022 August 17
  2. "Affirmative action is under attack. How did we get here?" by Julian Mark, Taylor Telford, and Emma Kumer, Washington Post, 2024 March 9
  3. "DEI supporters see echoes of America’s fraught racial history in attacks on diversity efforts" by Athena Jones, CNN, 2024 February 23
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "‘America Is Under Attack’: Inside the Anti-D.E.I. Crusade" by Nicholas Confessore, 2024 January 20
  5. "What the Hell Happened to the Claremont Institute?" by Laura K. Field, Bulwark, 2021 July 13
  6. "Yes, efforts to eliminate DEI programs are rooted in racism" by Tatishe Nteta, Adam Eichen, Douglas Rice, Jesse Rhodes, and Justin H. Gross, The Conversation, 2024 April 5
  7. "The War on DEI Is About Hierarchy" by Sarah Jones, New York, 2024 January 23
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Baltimore bridge's collapse is the target of anti-DEI rhetoric" by Alana Wise, NPR, 2024 April 4
  9. "No, DEI isn’t making airplanes fall apart" by Fabiola cineas, Vox, 2024 January 25
  10. "Boeing's quality-control process and company culture are being heavily scrutinized after the 737 Max Flight 1282 blowout" by Pete Syme, Business Insider, 2024 January 13
  11. "Sweet Baby Inc. Doesn’t Do What Some Gamers Think It Does" by Alyssa Mercante, Kotaku, 2024 March 6
  12. "The return of Gamergate is smaller and sadder" by Ash Parrish, The Verge, 2024 March 18
  13. "The Small Company at the Center of ‘Gamergate 2.0’" by Megan Farokhmanesh, Wired, 2024 March 14
  14. "Why a Montreal video game consulting studio is at the centre of an online anti-diversity storm" by Jonathan Ore, CBC, 2024 April 3
  15. "Mark Cuban is doubling down on backing DEI, saying it's boosted his bottom lines" by Kwan Wei Kevin Tan, Business Insider, 2024 April 2
  16. "The war on DEI is hitting marketing and hurting business" by Constantine von Hoffman, Martech, 2024 February 20
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 "A Mature Approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Delivers Real Results" by Adam DeMattia, Senior Director of Research, Enterprise Strategy Group, Techtarget / AWS, 2023 March
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 "How to Make the Business Case for DEI", Berkshire Associates, 2023 September 15
  19. "Infographic: Diversity + Inclusion = Better Decision Making At Work" by Erik Larson, Cloverpop, 2017 September 19
  20. "The Bottom Line? DEI Can Have an Impact on Your Practice", T. Rowe Price
  21. "The Other Diversity Dividend", Harvard Business Review, July-August 2018
  22. "How Investing in DEI Helps Companies Become More Adaptable" by David Michels, Kevin Murphy, and Karthik Venkataraman, Harvard Business Review, 2023 May 5
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 "Diversity matters even more: The case for holistic impact", McKinsey and Company, 2023 December 5