Why Commitment to DE&I Is (Still) Important
Criticism of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts has escalated
These are challenging times for DE&I initiatives. A Supreme Court ruling in the summer that unwound affirmative action protections at universities have prompted some to argue that diversity, equity and inclusion efforts are on shaky legal ground. In the meantime, heated rhetoric around diversity initiatives in general has often tried to make a boogeyman out of DE&I; one person's vision of fair treatment for all is another's "ideological orthodoxy."
These issues have made their way into the association world. Naturally, organizations that have DE&I principles built into their very existence—such as the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education—have spoken out about the SCOTUS ruling. But it’s not just those groups: In June, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses shifted from DE&I language to “accountability, belonging and culture.” The move was made in part to respond to the way the term "DE&I" has become stigmatized.
"I started having conversations with the executive team and our marketing and communications people about all the ways the language of DE&I was being misrepresented, and perhaps also weaponized," AWHONN staffer Danielle Jones told me about the move. "We needed to reframe the conversation."
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