WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27: First lady Jill Biden speaks about the holiday season and unveils the White House holiday decor while thanking volunteers who helped set it up, at the White House on November 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. The theme for this year's White House decorations is “Magic, Wonder and Joy,” and is designed to capture the “delight and imagination of childhood.” The White House expects to welcome approximately 100,000 visitors during the holiday season. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images


Not Only Is DEI Racist, It Champions Mediocrity


There are two major problems with the notion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The first is the inherent discrimination in the concept: the belief that all aspects of success are due to exploitation and discrimination. This means, when applied to groups, statistically underperforming groups are to be considered “victimized,” whether or not they are victims, and to be treated with special privileges; those who are members of statistically overachieving groups, whether or not they are victimized, are to be treated as villains. 

The only possible exception to this hierarchy is white men, who are always to be treated as villains, whether their group is underperforming or overperforming in any given situation.

This philosophy is how you get a holiday party for “Electeds of Color” thrown by Asian Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. Apparently, this “Electeds of Color” party has been happening for a decade in Boston. 

Obviously, this is discriminatory and wrong. If there were a white-electeds-only party, of course, that would be violative of federal discrimination law. But DEI insists you cannot be wrong so long as you’re a member of the victimhood hierarchy.

So that’s the first problem with DEI: It’s racist.

Then there’s the second problem, not disconnected to the first: mediocrity. 

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If success is to be treated as sinful and failure as virtuous — because victimhood is virtue — then mediocrity is the happy middle wherein you can avoid being completely terrible at things and also escape censure for being good at them.

So it is in academia, where racially diverse mediocrity is preferable to non-race-based meritocratic achievement. See, for example, Harvard, where President Claudine Gay, despite apparently being both a serial plagiarist and a soft-on-anti-Semitism leader, is still in her job.

Or, see Chicago, where Mayor Brandon Johnson — the even worse successor to Lori Lightfoot — announced his plans to kill Chicago’s high-achieving selective-enrollment schools, since they weren’t racially diverse enough. Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez has put forth a resolution seeking “a transition away from privatization and admissions/enrollment policies and approaches that further stratification and inequity in CPS and drive student enrollment away from neighborhood schools.”

Better that high-achieving students be trapped in the crappy local school than they be able to go to a better school. Mediocrity for all!

And so it is at the White House, where equity prevails above all. 

Now, when the Biden White House promised equity would be at the heart of all they do, they meant it. Which, presumably, is why Dr. Jill Biden — the greatest of all doctors — invited the Dorrance Dance company to perform a version of the “Nutcracker” ballet at the White House. 

There’s nothing wrong with the concept here; the “Nutcracker” is a famous Christmastime piece of culture, and tap dance is a historically black American art form with a long and storied Hollywood history. Many if not most of the greatest tap artists in history have been black Americans, from the Nicholas Brothers to Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to Gregory Hines. 

Now, of course, like most of what is amazing in America, tap has been adopted by people of all cultures — which is how you end up with Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, two of the greatest American artists of all time.

So, there was plenty of history and quality for the Biden White House to choose from in picking their Christmas tap routine.

But what the White House presented wasn’t good tap dancing. It wasn’t terrible. It was just … well, meh

Now, why was Dorrance Dance picked to do this much-mocked routine? Presumably, it had something to do with the politics of the group. Michelle Dorrance, founder of the group, has dedicated the group to “antiracism.” Here is what she wrote on her website: 

It is our job to tell the history of tap dance as a celebration of Black culture and also the never-ending struggle against systemic racism and white supremacy in this country – the origin story of appropriation in American culture. In 2020, I am a part of the way this story plays out. I am a white tap dancer with Black cultural ancestors in a society that privileges white people and whiteness. I am easy for white audiences wanting to access and experience elements of Black culture to swallow.

Dorrance says that tap dance is “both a tradition born of subversion/revolution/protest and a powerful vehicle for social and political change” and adds that as a beneficiary of “white privilege that I invite you to join me in lifelong antiracism work. Understanding how deeply embedded white supremacy, racism, and colonialism is in our culture is paramount to understanding our role (as white people) in perpetuating it, and embracing our job to dismantle it.”

Or, you know, you could just dance.

Because here’s the reality of a free country: Quality improves everyone and everything. All the black tap artists I mentioned did more for racial comity and black Americans than Michelle Dorrance ever will — because they demonstrated, to anyone who would even think that race ought to define someone, that incredible artistry spans and transcends race.

But when DEI is your goal, mediocrity is all too often the result.

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