Washington Post Comes Out Against Diversity Statements, Despite Past Support for DEI

Evan Poellinger | May 21, 2024

The Washington Post published an editorial Sunday in opposition to the use of diversity statements in academia, in spite of the publication’s general support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology.

Entitled, “The Problem With Diversity Standards — And What To Do About Them,” the article began by describing the role played by diversity statements within the DEI framework, noting that “one 2021 study found that about one-third of job postings at elite universities required them.” The editorial also declared “DEI programs can have an important place. They should not be abolished or undermined — as red states such as Florida and Texas have done, by forbidding the use of state funds for DEI in public universities.”

Nonetheless, the editorial argued that “as a specific policy, DEI statements advance their declared objectives at too high a cost,” specifically its propensity to generate “‘intense and growing resentment’ among academics.”

The editorial board also fretted that, “jobseekers who disagree with the ideological premises of such inquiries have an overwhelming incentive to suppress their true beliefs, or pretend to have the ‘right’ ones, lest they be eliminated from consideration.”

The editorial concluded, “the last thing academia — or the country — needs is another incentive for people to be insincere or dishonest. The very purpose of the university is to encourage a free exchange of ideas, seek the truth wherever it may lead, and to elevate intellectual curiosity and openness among both faculty and students.”

Despite the encouraging support of free exchange of ideas within academia, it must be recognized that the Washington Post’s editorial board is not critiquing DEI ideology itself, but merely the way in which it is propagated.

In an article published on February 13, Bob Helbig argued that corporations had “good reason” to continue incorporating DEI policies into their operations, despite the growing backlash. Most strikingly, the Washington Post describes itself as “a company that values and is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture,” adding, “we thrive collectively when diversity is embraced as key to our business objectives.”

In the case of the Washington Post, DEI’s only problem appears to be the method by which it is deployed, rather than the ideology itself.