With the rise of Antiracism programs in the United States, it is necessary to understand the form and focus of such programs. This paper identifies what Antiracism, Racism, and Equity are according to Ibram X. Kendi, Robin DiAngelo, and Brandis University. This paper also reveals that Antiracist programs are religious, as defined by Chambers Dictionary of Etymology and The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Lastly, this paper examines the effects of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity programs, e.g., the United Airlines Equity Initiative, mainly that they will cause economic stagnation and loss, decreased performance and efficiency, and lower trust levels that will cause division within the company, culture, society, and country. This paper is theoretical in nature but based on quantifiable evidence.
Antiracism is rising in the United States in the form of Equity initiatives, which are exemplified in United Airlines’ recent move to alter their pool of pilots, not based on merit or competency, but on the color of their skin and their sex. United Airlines "plans for 50% of United Aviate Academy students [to be] women and people of color to ensure [their] students reflect the diversity of the customers and communities [they] serve." It seems that they plan on doing this under the assumption that Women and "People of Color" cannot afford training, and thus, are handing out scholarships to break "down barriers" so that they're "open to [a] much more diverse pool of candidates." [1.]. But what is Antiracism?
In the words of Ibram X. Kendi:
The opposite of "racist" isn't "not racist." It is "anti-racist." What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of "not racist." The claim of "not racist" neutrality is a mask for racism. This may seem harsh, but it's important at the outset that we apply one of the core principles of antiracism, which is to return the word "racist" itself back to its proper usage. "Racist" is not—as Richard Spencer argues—a pejorative. It is not the worst word in the English language; it is not the equivalent of a slur. It is descriptive, and the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it. [2.]
This definition assigns differences between people, or groups of people, solely to racism; it also does not assign this problem to people (individuals) but instead gives this problem to power differentials and policies alone. Does this mean that differences between people in certain communities are not the result of racism; no, they still can be. Does this mean that power and policies cannot result in discrimination; no, they still can. In this quote, Ibram does not define "Racism," despite defining the difference between being against racism and being antiracist as fighting against systemic policies and power differentials that result in hierarchies, which I presume to be the result of those policies based on Kendi’s definition, which are also assumed to be the result of racism by Kendi. Perhaps this does tacitly define the term; still, to clearly define what Ibram means by "Racism," I think it's important to look at two leading Critical Race Theorists' definition of it: Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo.
From a critical social justice perspective, the term racism refers to this system of collective social and institutional White power and privilege.
Racism: White racial and cultural prejudice and discrimination, supported by institutional power and authority, used to the advantage of Whites and the disadvantage of people of color. Racism encompasses economic, political, social, and institutional actions and beliefs that systematize and perpetuate an unequal distribution of privileges, resources, and power between Whites and People of Color. [3.]
From this definition, which reflects the words of Ibram X. Kendi, racism is not necessarily the result of individuals acting prejudicially or discriminatively towards a particular racial group; it is the actions of individuals, supported by institutional power and authority; i.e., "power + prejudice." From this definition, any perceived disadvantage or hierarchal differences between people of color and Whites is the result of systemic policies that have resulted in economic, political, societal, and institutional power differentials, which in themselves perpetuate unequal distributions of privilege (or really luck), resources, and (most importantly for these critical theorists) power.
So what happens if there are other explanatory mechanisms for the hierarchal differences between groups of people in the country, which do not support the idea that Whites, as a "privileged" group, benefit from their identity, resulting in their ability to discriminate, ultimately resulting in economic, political, social, and institutional distributions of privilege, resources, and power favoring Whites? The answer is built into both Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi's definitions: Whiteness [4.], as a system of policies and structures of power, disadvantages people of color. This means that White people, or any group of people may, or may not, be victims, or perpetrators, of racism only if they do not, or do, don the visage of Whiteness. This means that Asians can benefit from Whiteness and perpetuate White supremacy without actually being White; or that Hispanics, or Latinos, can benefit from Whiteness and perpetuate white supremacy without themselves being White; or even more absurdly, the murder of a Pakistani cab driver by two Black teens could be the result of White supremacy [5.]. This should be confusing to most people, and for a good reason.
This is rationalizing, a redefining of Racism that cannot be falsified, i.e., built into this definition of Racism are paradoxes that demonstrate that the problem is not White people, Whiteness, institutions, or policies that cause unequal distributions when examined. However, Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi's definition of Racism and Antiracism denies such revelations; they are not scientific or empirical definitions. If they were scientific definitions, they would have been disproven a long time ago. These definitions are explicitly religious, or faith-based. To explain this more fully, it will be necessary to examine the other value of this modern (or post-modern) religion: Equity.
The notion of being fair and impartial as an individual engages with an organization or system, particularly systems of grievance. It reflects processes and practices that both acknowledge that we live in a world where everyone has not been afforded the same resources and treatment while also working to remedy this fact. "Equity" is often conflated with the term "Equality," which means sameness and assumes, incorrectly, that we all have had equal access, treatment, and outcomes. In fact, true Equity implies that an individual may need to experience or receive something different (not equal) in order to maintain fairness and access. For example, a person with a wheelchair may need differential access to an elevator relative to someone else. [6.]
In this definition, we can see why United Airlines made the decision it did, and we can be sure that the scholarships will be doled out based on color and sex, not merit. Why? Equity "implies that an individual may need experience or to receive something different (not equal) in order to maintain fairness and access." Notice that this is not about being treated equally, which is deemed incorrect because it "assumes that we all have had equal access, treatment, and outcomes," even though this is an assumption that anyone has received equal access, treatment, or outcomes. I.e., the goal of Equality was not equal outcomes but to receive equal treatment, independent of identity, immutable characteristics or starting points.
What follows from the blend of Equity and Antiracism is this: from an unquestionable and unquantifiable assertion that systemic power imbalances and policies cause differences between groups of people, differing forms of group treatment will follow if Equity is how group differences are to be solved. In other words, they're going to treat people differently, based on race, to solve group differences, particularly racial differences. If this sounds paradoxical to you, that's because it is, and it is because it's not a belief based on evidence, or really, good evidence, but faith; unquestionable faith.
The Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (p. 907) defines Religion as "respect for what is sacred, probably with the original meaning of care," from Cicero, "relegare — go through, read again," and in a popular etymological context, "to bind fast." In other words, Religion binds one to the sacred so that care can be provided, and to learn or teach a particular lesson. If this is what religion is, how do we know that Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi's philosophy is a religious system, a faith-based system?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy's definition of Religion (p. 814), religions contain rituals, narratives based on experience (myriad experiences), and emotional states of being (i.e., reverence, awe, guilt, and purgation), including Hope and Faith which extend beyond mere belief.
Religious experiences and religions are often recognized by mass religious events, the rise of religious leaders and teachers, sacred scriptures, and institutional sources of authority. The validity of these religious experiences, which serve to build the narratives that produce the emotional states of being so that people can bind themselves to the sacred to learn particular lessons, is not necessarily based on evidence but rationalization (defining, redefining, and logic games); i.e., they are a matter of faith, which are not necessarily supported by evidence-based beliefs. Evidence can be added to the doctrinal or faith-based belief system. Still, such evidence either tacitly supports the belief or narrative(s) or is warped to fit the doctrinal belief. The proof for this is that the evidence cannot be questioned or that it results in absurdities. The cause of the absurdities that arise from any inspection of these narratives is that they are built on a rationale that exists independent of sound evidence, as the evidence is rationalized to support the belief system rather than simply being an aspect of belief; i.e., the evidence is redefined to fit the narrative or belief system. These rationalizations often require "justifying" arguments that assert the Ontology, Cosmology, Teleology, and Moral nature of the religion.
The mass religious events that go into building this religious narrative would be alleged unjust acts of violence against minorities (the death of Michael Brown, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, etc., e.g.). These events serve to whip the followers of this faith into a frenzy, resulting in protesting, rioting, and the kind of acts of submission we saw in 2020. These ecstatic events also serve as rituals of purification for the followers of this Antiracist faith.
The religious leaders for this organization would be people like Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, but also Layla F. Saad, DeRay Mckesson, and Nikole Hannah-Jones, to name a few. These leaders serve as icons for the movement, lay down religious doctrines, and help the followers through their ecstatic moments when they're overwhelmed by the evil spirit that's causing group differences and inequality, and of which they seek purgation: Racism.
The religious scriptures for this new faith-based system are legion and help its followers when they ritualistically meet to discuss how they can practice Antiracism to produce true Equality:
Anti-Racism Books and Articles:
There Is No Such Thing As A White Ally by Catherine Pugh, Esp
8 Tangible Ways White Folks Can Support People of Color
Unpacking the White Privilege Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise
The Impact of Race: Theatre and Culture by Woodie King Jr.
Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America by George Yancy
Revealing Whiteness: The Unconscious Habits of Racial Privilege by Shannon Sullivan
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum
35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say by Dr. Maura Cullen
This was a selection of books given as educational reading for a college theatre department's call to act as an antiracist institution [7.], which brings me to my next point.
For this new religion, who will serve as the spiritual authorities? Colleges, Academic Institutions, and Academics. These are analogous to Abbeys, Monasteries, and Priests. The priests may move outward into the secular community in the form of psychologists, school teachers, H.R. department employees, and "Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity" counselors. However, for the most part, they will use these institutions to indoctrinate students, transforming them into zealots for their new religion of Antiracism, based on Critical Theory, in search of Equality through Equity.
These personal experiences, leaders, materials, and institutions provide a doctrine and narrative that alleges care and respect while discriminating against people based on identity. They bind their followers to their belief system and, because they cannot be disproven, are reframed and redefined to maintain the system's structure. This redefining and reframing is done despite contradictory evidence and keeps the belief system's followers attached to the religious doctrine out of obligation to the malformed belief in Equality through Equity, both of which stand against Racism as Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi have defined it; the evil of this faith. The god of this religion is Equality, in the sense of equal outcomes (it is the highest ideal); the holy salve to achieve this is Equity, to heal and care for minorities; and its evil, Racism as institutional policies that result in group differences and disparities. If one does not cooperate with this system, which binds its followers to it, they are subjected to punishment; they are taught a lesson. In other words, this is a religion as Chambers Etymological Dictionary has defined it.
This doctrine, as religions often do, has arguments justifying its beliefs. It has its ontological arguments in the literature on Equity and Antiracism; its cosmological arguments, albeit material arguments for causation, in the literature on Critical Theory and its authors' sources of inspiration [8.]; its moral arguments exist in the many pieces of literature arguing against group differences and how to solve group differences with the implementation of equity practices; and of course, it has its teleological argument in the form of reasoning for diversity, inclusion, and equity, with the aim of equality; equal outcomes. The teleological argument is quite sinister as it is achieved through Equity, or treating people differently, based on race, to solve group differences, particularly racial differences. To demonstrate this, I will lay it out in a basic syllogism, just so this new religion's sinister absurdity is apparent.
1. Group differences exist, which are presumed to be caused by policies that discriminate against certain groups while benefiting others.
2. Equity implies that groups may need to experience or receive something different (not equal) to maintain fairness and access.
C: To get rid of allegedly discriminatory policies against certain groups of people, it is suggested that we implement equity programs that require that we treat groups differently (necessarily decreasing access to resources for other groups of people who are presumed to be privileged).
In other words, this faith-based philosophy or religion does not treat people equally based on their merits. Instead, it divides people based on their identity, treats people differently based on their identity, and often assumes the impotence of the people they treat differently, as if they are disabled. This effectively means that this new religion, pushed for by Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi, is explicitly diabolical.
This new religion casts an accusation on all institutions and societies it comes into contact with (that its group differences are the result of racism), lays downs scandals in the culture over which the society and institutions that cross them may trip, divides the society into groups, and ultimately scapegoats a particular individual or group of individuals to purge another group, or community, of something wrong or evil (this purgation only works for an interim, as it does not fully address the scapegoating group's core issues); i.e., the very spirit of Ibram X Kendi and Robin DiAngelo's new religion is explicitly satanic. This is how René Girard defines Satanism in his work, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. I do not say this out of some extreme religious fervor but rather as someone who sees the utility and pragmatism of religious terms to explain cultural phenomena. If you do not believe this, ask yourself these questions: will this religion divide us or will it unite us; are we going to unite people by treating them differently based on their identity while disadvantaging other people based on their identity, or are we going to divide them; will we solve racism by magnifying racial consciousness or are we going to make it worse? Obviously, Kendi and DiAngelo's new religion will not unite, nor will it get rid of racism; it will divide and exacerbate racism and tribalism.
It may be stated that corporations, businesses, or cultures swallow this D.I.E. (Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity) pill to profit by making people more manipulatable [9.], but based on the same evidence, this initiative decreases trust. This reduced level of trust decreases levels of investment, thus stagnating economic growth [10.][11.]; this is especially the case if there is no positive economic effect from diverse groups, i.e., any positive impact is endogenous, likely related to skill (merit), not identity . So if you're hiring based on identity and not merit, you will increase stagnation and promote financial loss. Any argument for the contrary is highly speculative. Also, how does one define "Diversity," what are the effects of behavioral and cognitive differences; is there a difference between affective diversity and phenotypic or cultural diversity? As it turns out, yes there is [13.], all alter yields in productivity, indicating that diversity is not inherently good nor are the ideas produced by diverse groups necessarily better; and, as it is already clear that diversity decreases trust, and thus cohesion, the only other variable to argue for is the potential increase in productivity if one seeks to advocate for diverse groups. However, even this is not shown to be improved by diversity based on the empirical evidence [14.]; specifically, of diverse groups, the process, how results were produced, was a more significant factor than diversity of identity [15.], which is especially true when considered alongside the other data on diversity.
But independent of diversity, by promoting a philosophy that exacerbates group differences and animosity as Kendi and United Airlines are doing, specifically by pushing for Equity programs, which are explicitly discriminatory and favor particular groups over others, lowering trust, group efficacy, or performance will be negatively impacted; i.e., it will necessarily reduce the competency levels and value of our institutions by lowering group efficacy and productivity by decreasing trust, cohesion, and increasing discriminatory practices. Higher levels of trust increase productivity, discriminatory practices, equity initiatives, lower trust; equity initiatives as a discriminatory practice will lower trust [16.]. By lowering levels of trust, bonds between people decrease, especially in large groups, decreasing productivity [17.]. Diversity ideologies, such as Kendi's antiracism initiatives, though framed by care and hope for the future, have consistently failed students as they're not really addressing student issues [18.]; and diversity was not enough to promote tolerance between groups [19.]; i.e., the issues facing minority communities were not solved by D.I.E. programs (such as the one United Airlines is promoting), nor did they promote tolerance between groups. Thus, D.I.E. programs lower productivity by decreasing levels of trust, decrease bonds (friendships), exacerbating distrust and decreasing productivity and efficacy, and do not solve issues minorities are facing, nor increase tolerance between groups; such programs likely decrease tolerance by promoting discriminatory policies.
So what is the result of United Airlines adopting the antiracist, Critical Theory laden religion of Ibram X Kendi and Robin DiAngelo? Economic stagnation and economic loss, decreased performance and efficiency, and lower trust levels that will cause division within the company, culture, society, and country.
My examination of this new antiracist religion scrapes the tip of the iceberg for how maladaptive it is; how it doesn't promote the wellbeing of any culture or organization that adopts it. However, I am confident that I have laid out the reasons for why it's a religion, how it operates, and why it is maladaptive. Why would people adopt this sick new religion, though? I can only assume that their thinking is unsound and unclear; I am willing to say that the people who embrace this philosophy (i.e., academies, colleges, corporations, and businesses) are not well, which may be why their choices and actions reflect that sickness, especially in the harm that it will cause them. Perhaps they even think that their actions serve as some sort of sacrifice to appease the god of D.I.E. However, one thing Kendi may get from his new religion is the dismantling, or really destruction, of our institutions, businesses, culture, and society. Congrats, Mr. Kendi, you're destroying our country, and companies like United Airlines are helping you do it.