Are influential anti-DEI Trumpers trying to turn Pa. into Florida? | Michael Coard

The signs are there. Be aware — and then vote

April 25, 2023 6:30 am

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Image via the Florida Phoenix)

At the outset, and in terms of race and/or ethnicity, I must explain what DEI, which stands for “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” actually means.

As defined in President Joe Biden’s June 25, 2021 Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce: “Diversity means the practice of … [constituting] the many … races, ethnicities, …  cultures … [etc.] of the American people, including underserved communities. The term equity means the consistent and systemic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment. The term inclusion means the recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds.”

And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce similarly states that ” diversity refers to people’s race … ethnicity … [etc.] …. Equity promotes justice, impartiality, and fairness … within institutions or systems …. Inclusion ensures people of all … [different] backgrounds are welcome and have a seat at the table.”

Despite the fact that DEI is an objectively good thing because it pertains to all races and/or ethnicities, because it pertains to justice and fairness, and because it pertains to recognizing and respecting everyone’s value, residents in 54 out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties voted for anti-DEI candidate Donald Trump in 2020.

Fortunately, Philadelphia, Allegheny, Montgomery, and Delaware counties, along with nine other counties totaled more Biden votes than those 54 counties combined could muster.

And that’s a good thing because certain influential anti-DEI Pennsylvanians wanted this entire Commonwealth to be like Florida. And being like Florida is a bad thing.

For example, the Pennridge School District’s board in Bucks County disbanded its DEI committee after board member Joan Cullen publicly said, as disclosed by the NAACP Bucks County Branch on Aug. 26, 2021, that she does not believe there is any systemic racism in America.

I guess she never heard of the hypocritically racist 1776 Declaration of Independence signed by 56 white male property owners — 41 of whom enslaved Black people.

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And I guess she never heard of the 1788 U.S. Constitution that promoted slavery in the three-fifths clause (Art. I, Sec. 2, Cl. 3), the runaway return clause (Art. IV, Sec. 2, Cl. 3), and the 20-year extension of the slavery importation clause (Art. I, Sec. 9, Cl. 1).

I also guess she never heard of the “Indian” genocide resulting from so-called Manifest Destiny, the Mexican land robbery, the anti-Reconstruction Redemption Era, the Black Codes, convict leasing, sharecropping, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow, gerrymandering, redlining, inadequate school funding, school-to-prison pipeline, police brutality, or mass incarceration.

Here’s another example of how certain influential Pennsylvanians want to be like anti-DEI Florida.

“More than two years after Penn State solicited the expertise of its faculty and staff [called the Select Penn State Presidential Commission on Racism, Bias, and Community Safety] to address racism and bias on campus, a new administration is distancing itself from those employees and some of their recommendations. In addition to canceling a planned Center for Racial Justice, the university has declined to release a report on another diversity proposal,” the investigative news website Spotlight PA reported last year.

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And here’s an additional example.

In a 2020 interview with the York Dispatch, U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, asserted that systemic racism doesn’t exist.

“What is systemic? That means there’s a system. If there’s a system, someone had to create that system …. [But] I don’t know who in our country is doing that,” Perry, a close Trump ally who participated in efforts to topple the 2020 election results, argued.

When he was asked about police brutality in general and the brutal murder of George Floyd in particular, Perry told the newspaper that “apparently, there is more to the story, if you look at the pathological report.”

In other words, Perry claimed that drugs, not a nearly 10-minute videotaped strangulation, killed Floyd.

That influential Pennsylvania school board and the influential administration of Pennsylvania’s largest university with nearly 90,0000 students, and that influential Pennsylvania congressman along with 3,378,263 Pennsylvanians who voted for the anti-DEI Trump in 2020 want Pennsylvania to be like Florida because Florida hates DEI. And here’s proof:

Republican state Rep. Alex Andrade introduced Florida House Bill 999 that “prohibits a state college, state university, or one of their direct-support organizations, from expending state or federal funds on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs or activities.”

And just last year, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the so-called “Stop W.O.K.E” Act that allows teachers and employees who violate it to be fired and state schools to lose performance funding.

In addition, it allows racist parents to sue teachers and school districts that teach any Black history subject that racist parents don’t like.

Moreover, the act bans any discussion about white “privilege” or Black “oppression,” any discussion about white people of the present benefiting from racist policies, practices, and laws “of the past,” any discussion about race that would make white people feel bad regarding benefiting from systemic racism, i.e. that would make white people “feel guilt, anguish or other forms of psychological distress” regarding benefiting from racism, any discussion about “diversity, equity, or inclusion” as remedies for systemic racism, and any discussion that refutes the lie that white people’s success is based solely on “merit, excellence, hard work, fairness, neutrality, objectivity, and racial colorblindedness.”

Fortunately, four months after this racist act became law, a federal judge blocked its enforcement. Unfortunately, DeSantis appealed, so now the outcome is uncertain.

But what is certain is that Pennsylvania must not become Florida. And I’m certain that Pennsylvania will do in the 2024 election what it did in the 2020 election. On second thought, because of 54 Pennsylvania counties and 3,378,263 Pennsylvania voters, I’m really not certain.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Then vote for fairness and justice.

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Michael Coard
Michael Coard

Opinion contributor Michael Coard, an attorney and radio host, is a columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune. His work appears biweekly on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. Readers may follow him on Twitter @michaelcoard.