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Rebranding DEI

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DEI is so unpopular that it’s being renamed. Like a mafia informant hiding out from his old pals, some consultants are trying to rebrand DEI as IDE. There are only so many ways to move the same letters around to form an acronym that isn’t as lethal in connotation as IED or DIE.

And if IDE doesn’t work out, expect to see some EID offices around before long.

Conservative states have started cracking down on DEI offices at publicly funded colleges, and so the University of Iowa now calls its DEI office the “Division of Access, Opportunity and Diversity” while the University of Oklahoma renamed its racism stronghold the “Division of Access and Opportunity.’ At the University of Tennessee, it’s the “Division of Access and Engagement” while at Louisiana State University it was more awkwardly renamed to the “Division of Engagement, Civil Rights & Title IX”. Utah Valley University’s DEI office adopted the meaninglessly bland title of the “Office of Institutional Engagement and Effectiveness.”

Much like changing DEI to IDE, liberals playing mad libs with buzzwords like “access’”, “engagement” and “opportunity” will just mean more of the same under a different name.

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, and a racist organization is going to be just as racist even if you rename the KKK and announce you’re admitting black people (this actually happened under Obama) or call DEI the Division of Effective Engagements and Opportunistic Access. The problem isn’t with the three letter name and can’t be fixed by moving it around.

It’s hard to say whether colleges believing that changing DEI’s name will fix everything is an insulting or accurate assessment of elected officials who have the attention span of mayflies and won’t even notice or care that the same DEI system is still up and running by another name.

Corporations have also changed the buzzwords that they use. Now that DEI is unpopular and legally risky, the HR departments are emphasizing “inclusion” as a safer brand. Diversity has come to be associated with discrimination and equity with a Marxist ideology that mandates cutting some people down so that the preferred groups may be able to advance. Inclusion has the least negative connotation and that’s why IDE seems safer than DEI.

Put “inclusion” first and no one will be able to argue, sue or ban the new DEI brand.

But there isn’t an underlying issue with the words “diversity” or “equity”, the problem is that they represent an ideology whose idea of diversity, equity and inclusion is discriminatory and punitive. Inclusion that’s smuggling the same ideology in its back pocket is still just as bad.

The Left has a long history of rebranding to fight a backlash. It wasn’t all that long ago that “woke” was a hip leftist self-definition before it was adopted as a derogatory term by critics and now the only people still using it are either on FOX News or in Hollywood. Within a few years a popular term had vanished among wokes without them becoming any less ‘woke’.

“Liberal” went through the same phases of pride, mockery and shame more times than anyone can count. What was once a badge of pride turned into a Rush Limbaugh skit. “Progressives” had their day and the term “socialist” was only recently embraced again by the American Left.

At interviews about my book, ‘Domestic Enemies: The Founding Fathers’ Fight Against The Left’, I’m often asked if the lefties of George Washington’s day called themselves that. Even though the term “left” does date back to the French Revolution, the answer is no they did not.

Historically, leftists were often defined by the names that their opponents called them. And that’s still true today. But that’s not because leftists are hapless victims of a conservative culture. Rather the other way around. Leftists strive to appear to be an indistinguishable part of the culture. That’s why media stories routinely refer to “right-wing” or “conservative” groups, but rarely to leftist ones. A news story that mentions the David Horowitz Freedom Center will call us “right-wing extremists” while ProPublica or the Southern Poverty Law Center will be described as nonpartisan public policy and civil rights organizations. The Left wants to be invisible.

Standing out as a distinct group will only get in the way of its long march through America.

That’s why leftist rallies are always “grass roots” even when they’re all waving the same signs, reciting the same chants and all their organizations are funded by the Ford Foundation. FOX News is “right-wing”, but CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times are just “journalists”. Republican positions are identified as distinctly ideological, but Democrat positions are just sensible common sense reforms to ensure good government and make life better for all.

Internally there are a plethora of terms that the Left uses to identify and define its beliefs, but once they are smuggled outside, they are supposed to lose their ideological identification. So it was with DEI. Like “diversity”, it was turned into a generic term in workplaces. Once it was ideologically typed, it had to be discarded and replaced with even more generic terms.

And that is what’s happening now.

The Left is a series of secret societies. And it still operates through conspiratorial means. In America, only its most extreme elements are willing to identify themselves by name. Its movements define themselves primarily by issues rather than ideology. They protest for the ‘environment’ or against ‘hate’ and ‘war’, they are ‘community organizers’ fighting ‘poverty’’, but rarely are they identified as what they are, radical activists imposing a leftist ideology on us.

What does the Left fear? Like Rumpelstiltskin, someone saying its name out loud.

In George Orwell’s 1984, the socialist dictatorship imposed ‘Newspeak’: a manufactured language in which dissenting ideas cannot be expressed. The American Left uses the institutions under its control to perpetuate its own ‘Newspeak’ in which it does not exist.

The moment that people are given words like “wokeness” or “cancel culture” to crystalize what they have been experiencing, liberal comedians start talking about being afraid to make jokes, students complain about intimidation in class and workers start suing companies for discriminating against them on political grounds. Suddenly, people can talk about it.

And the leftist institutions pull up stakes, loudly declare that no such thing exists (and if it does, it’s a good thing) and begin changing all the labels exactly as they are now doing with DEI.

Naming the enemy may seem minor, but it is no small thing. Name it and you pull away its mask. Name it and millions of apolitical people have a name to put to their experiences. The people yelling at them, threatening them and scolding them are not just “crazies”.

They’re leftists.

Unlike Rumpelstiltskin, naming the Left alone won’t defeat it, but it tears away the disguise under which its activists rule over us and reveals that all of the people wrecking the country are not acting alone, they’re not irrational, incompetent or corrupt: they’re members of a movement.

And then they lie, they run for cover, they whine about “red-baiting” and are on the defensive. Name them, identify them and define them, and for the first time, they are on the ropes,

Name the Left. Destroy the Left.

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


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