The co-founder of Basecamp and creator of Ruby on Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson, published an article this week titled, The waning days of DEI’s dominance. David was never a fan of diversity, equality, and inclusion policies, and is now breaking his silence as he considers them in decline.
There are many clichés in this article presented as refreshing antidotes to the consensus. Those that champion equality are zealots waving pitchforks, those in positions of power are cowed blah blah blah Twitter mobs, blah blah elites (said with no hint of irony from an influential millionaire). You have read exactly the same thing 100 times before in 10 different papers. The only thing new in this is what prompted David to think efforts for inclusion were merely a temporary cultural phenomenon.
Here are the four reasons offered for the predicted wane:
- The U.S. Supreme Court is set to repeal ‘affirmative action’ at American universities
- Some Black Lives Matter groups have been embroiled in scandals and no-one wants to “Defund The Police”
- Elon Musk now owns Twitter
- With lay-offs and hiring freezes, tech workers have fewer job opportunities and therefore less bargaining power to enforce changes
None of these seem like positive forces to me, but more importantly, are not things I would rest any theories or approaches on. Let’s look at each one in more detail.
- What isn’t mentioned about this Supreme Court decision is that pressure was organised and funded by Edward Jay Blum, a conservative legal strategist¹ that’s been hell-bent on dismantling Affirmative Action since at least 2008. This isn’t the will of the people so much as the will of an extremely loaded Republican. The real affirmative action in American schooling remains its legacy admissions.²
- All movements contain charlatans and no-one went harder on BLM frauds than those involved in the movement who ‘had long been ringing alarm bells’.³ American policing is an insanely militarised domestic force. The slogan “Defund The Police” may be alienating to many (and so a messaging failure), but scrutiny on for-profit incarceration, and arguments for funding programmes that prevent crime instead of weapons-testing machinery from arms-manufacturers, have not lost any credibility.⁴
- Without putting too fine a point on it, having a 51 year-old edgelord⁵ currently battling employment lawsuits⁶ in charge of the most efficient way for the less-powerful to organise, is a bad thing.
- If people only work for you because they have no other option, you run a shitty company.⁷
We can skip right to the conclusion without wading through any more:
The central premise of DEI, that discrepancies between demography statistics and employment reality, is defacto proof of discrimination is simply false. The sooner this erroneous analysis fade from prominence, the better for all.
So, like me, you might be wondering, ‘what evidence does David cite to support this extremely bold claim?’ As with many successful tech-bros, his belief in his own assertions is enough for him, and it should be enough for you too. Why didn’t he tell the people who had their CVs rejected for having ‘Black’ sounding names,⁸ or ‘Muslim’ sounding names,⁹ or those with childrearing responsibilties?¹⁰ Structural disadvantage doesn’t exist and behavioural insights are meaningless unless applied to advertising.¹¹ These things are mere fabrications by the wokerati. Like David, I am very smart.
Successful tech entrepreneurs are an especially irritating breed that often conflate success in one area with having a super-brain able to diagnose complex societal problems. Meritocracy has long been a discredited idelogical construct, designed to explain and uphold existing hierarchies,¹² and he’s doing a great job of preserving this status-quo. It is a mild accomplishment that David managed to go two years seemingly without increasing his understanding of these issues at all.
Striving for more inclusive workplaces is not on the way out, despite some rich divs trying to manifest it. I maintain the best way to support diversity and inclusion is just to learn about other people, the world we inhabit, and how it came to be. All of this stuff is mentally nourishing in and of itself, and creating an inclusive workplace will mainly be an outgrowth of that.
- Hasan Minhaj, Affirmative Action
- Daniella Silva, Study on Harvard finds 43 percent of white students are legacy, athletes, related to donors or staff
- Shamira Ibrahim, Was Black Lives Matter A Scam?
- Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Geographies of Racial Capitalism
- Herb Scribner, Elon Musk’s Twitter sees rise in racial slurs, hate speech
- Aaron Mak, How Many Simultaneous Scandals Can Elon Musk Survive?
- Casey Newton, Breaking Camp
- Payne Lubbers, Job Applicants With ‘Black Names’ Still Less Likely to Get Interviews
- Benedict Moore-Bridger, Candidates with Muslim-sounding names three times more likely to be passed over for jobs
- Sophia Waterfield, Childcare Impacting Working Culture And Career Progression, Finds Survey
- Unconscious bias and diversity training — what the evidence says
- Kwame Anthony Appiah, The myth of meritocracy: who really gets what they deserve?