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Charlamagne and DEI. Daniel Merritt, Gonzaga University, Intern.

In a recent episode of the Daily Show, anchor and host Charlamagne expressed a lack of faith in the use of DEI programs in America. Charlamagne explains how he believes DEI is a front for companies to feign diversity-mindsets while maintaining predominantly white employee populations. 

He gives the example of Nike who encourages diversity but has a completely white board of directors. His main qualm with this is that DEI is just serving as corporate PR, even going on to explain how DEI programs can act as evidence in a corporation’s favor when facing a civil rights lawsuit. Charlamagne is warranted in these beliefs; the world of corporate DEI is often lacking integrity and authenticity. Where he is wrong, however, is the conclusions he draws from them. 

      Charlamagne claims that DEI is mostly ‘garbage’. He states that over 900 studies have shown that DEI is ineffective. He does not provide sources for these studies or mention any specifics. (Forbes Magazine noted this inaccuracy: “The voluminous corpus of evidence produced by highly-respected scholars at major research universities, as well as by credible organizations like McKinsey & Company, documents the numerous ways in which DEI benefits businesses. Few academic experts have deemed studies about the positive effects of DEI suspect, certainly not garbage.)” 

Furthermore, all of the clips Charlamagne used in his show to condemn DEI were from one source: Fox News. Given that Fox is known to unfairly condemn diversity initiatives and include heavy bias in their reporting (the network recently paid $800 million after promoting lies about the 2020 presidential election), this seems like a conscious choice by Charlamagne to skew opinion. He also alludes to the idea that the strong DEI programs of companies like Boeing or even the city of Baltimore are partially to blame for the recent tragedies in their operations (the Boeing plane door malfunction and the Baltimore bridge collapse). 

The argument that these bodies were ‘too focused on DEI to consider the implications of these mistakes' is bogus, especially under predominantly white leadership. While the Daily Show host is right to be concerned about DEI’s effectiveness in the workplace, this should prompt discussions of how to improve equity in the corporate environment, not to promote falsehoods and lies. 

Castigating a practice that has proved beneficial for millions of Americans is an unprompted generalization with harmful implications.

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