Republicans Draw Party Lines Around DEI Initiatives


Jonathan Skrmetti and 12 other Attorney Generals sent a letter to Fortune 100 companies demanding that they change their hiring practices. The letter is similar in tone to letters sent by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a far-right think tank.

Image Credit: Paige Pfleger/WPLN News

The Republican Party continues its assault on anything related to affirmative action following the Supreme Court ruling to strike down the consideration of race in admissions policy. Attorney generals in 13 states have formed a coalition co-led by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Kansas Attorney General Kris Koback. The group sent a letter to the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies in a likely attempt to get ahead of legal challenges to any diversity and inclusion practices. The letter reads in part: “We, the undersigned Attorneys General of 13 States, write to remind you of your obligations as an employer under federal and state law to refrain from discriminating on the basis of race, whether under the label of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” or otherwise.”

Following the court’s decision, EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows reiterated the right of businesses to implement DEI initiatives in their employment practices. While diversity may be taken into consideration during the hiring process, there may be dissenting groups that challenge such policies. Conservative organizations, such as the National Center for Public Policy Research, have demanded that companies like Novartis, American Airlines, and McDonald’s revise their hiring and promotion policies, which they deem unlawful. NCPPR has even gone as far as to file a lawsuit against Starbucks for its alleged discriminatory DEI implementation and practices.

This continues a perceived backlash to diversity, equity, and inclusion positions following several leaders of DEI initiatives in Hollywood either leaving voluntarily or being forced to resign from their posts. Many of those executives were Black women, which does not portend good things for the field as a whole. Pew Research conducted surveys on DEI and how it is perceived in the workplace, but they found two somewhat contradictory attitudes among American workers. While 56% of the American workers surveyed believe DEI to be a good thing in theory, only about 30% of them put any importance on its practice in the workplace. According to the Pew survey, more Black workers place a more positive emphasis on DEI initiatives than their white counterparts. Moreover, political affiliation plays a crucial role in shaping attitudes towards DEI initiatives. Republicans tend to dissent from such efforts, which is reflected in the stance taken by the 13 Republican attorney generals..

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