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26

The Most Active Thread Since Friday

by Jeff Steele last modified Feb 27, 2024 08:27 AM

The topics with the most engagement since my last blog post included parents' issues with DEIB, changes at WAMU, a letter to mother-in-laws, and moms who continue to pursue careers even though they have high-earning husbands.

The three most active threads over the weekend were ones that I have discussed before and will therefore skip today. That means that I will be starting with what was actually the fourth most active thread. That thread was titled, "Why do parents have such an issue with DEIB" and posted in the "Private & Independent Schools" forum. I was aware that Diversity, Equity, and inclusion or DEI initiatives had become a popular bugaboo in certain quarters, in many cases replacing Critical Race Theory, or CRT, as the root of all evil, but I was hitherto unfamiliar with the additional "B". Some quick Googling revealed that the "B" is for "belonging" and that "DEIB" is a popular alternative to "DEI". The original poster of this thread suggests that many parents have misconceptions of what is involved with DEIB and that she never sees assignments of the sort that others claim are prompted by DEIB. She says that she knows of parents who claim to be basing school choices on the avoidance of DEIB and wants to know why they are so threatened by it. This is the sort of discussion that can go one of two ways on DCUM. Because DCUM's users, especially in the private school forum, tend to be highly-educated, experienced, and, might I say, worldly, there could be a nuanced, sophisticated, and intelligent discusion. But, this is a polarizing topic and the discussion could be one that reflects simplistic and overly-generalized arguments that are often based on stereotypes or false impressions. Because the smart move would be to avoid this type of discussion in the first place, there are more posts from the second category than the first. In very broad strokes, the extreme positions in this thread are, on one hand, that any one who opposes DEIB is a racist and, on the other hand, that White people are tired of being called racists and, therefore, don't like DEIB. A more nuanced example was a post suggesting that an emphasis on race and gender ignores other important social divisions, particularly those involving class. While affinity groups for Black or LGBTQ groups are embraced, one poster wondered how parents would react to "a ‘working class’ affinity group in the schools? Particularly one in which teachers shared their experiences of their salaries and what it’s actually like to teach the children of the upper class?" Many of the criticisms of DEIB seem to of the sort described by the original poster and demonstrate a misunderstanding of DEIB. Throughout the thread posters make claims about DEIB but then, when asked, are unable to provide specific examples. Several posters say that they support the goals of DEIB but that efforts have "gone too far". One dilemma with which I see posters struggling is how to reconcile often conflicting values. For instance, affinity groups can be both important support mechanisms for groups that don't align with the majority, but also divisive factors that hinder unity and cohesion. This thread also attracted a couple of posters who seem to perennially argue about DEI, DEIB, wokeness, and so on.

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