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Beyond Political Games: Understanding the Profound Impact of the Assault on DEI in Texas
Texas House Republicans' attack on DEI unveils a racist agenda that threatens decades of progress.
Friday, Texas House Republicans planted a flag in the ground that said, “We are white supremacists, and we don’t care who knows.” Then, they passed SB 17, which would ban all Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices on college campuses and universities.
And if the bill wasn’t bad enough, hearing Republicans speak on diversity and refuse amendments to protect marginalized groups, it was obvious what their agenda was. They no longer try to hide their racism, if they ever did, and have made their plan clear. It’s about discrimination against minority groups.
Republicans spoke a lot about fairness and merit. However, when Democrats introduced amendments touting meritocracy, Republicans quickly voted them down.
The first amendment, by Diego Bernal, said that no university would give preference to a student based on the relationship with alums or donors. It failed.
The second amendment, by James Talarico, said that the children or grandchildren of Texas legislatures would not get preferential treatment. It also failed.
I briefly spoke with Talarico after the amendment failed, and he told me, “They voted against my amendment on their DEI bill, which would’ve banned preferential treatment for kids and grandkids of legislators. So they don’t want preferential treatment for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, but they’re ok with preferential treatment for kids from advantaged backgrounds.”
Republicans say they are worried about discrimination against white people.
While white people only make up 38% of the population in Texas, they make up 77.1% of college and university professors. That’s the average. Some of the top universities have over 90% white faculty. DEI offices seek to reduce this inequity by hiring more diverse professors.
In one stunning moment, Representative Venton Jones attempted to introduce an amendment stating that SB 17 should comply with all State and Federal discrimination laws. Republicans also shot it down.
Texas’ past is a racist one, filled with segregation, Jim Crow, lynchings, and slavery. This ban on DEI will roll back the progress we’ve made in this state over the last several decades. In addition, this will jeopardize billions of dollars of federal funding and grants and make Texas universities less welcome for students of color.
Republicans in the Texas legislature are still running on the “great replacement theory” and presenting themselves as a white nationalist government with goals similar to apartheid. This hijacks our higher education and will erode academic freedom in this state.
This goes so much further than owning the libs.
In their relentless attack on DEI, Texas House Republicans have chosen to engage in what may appear to be just another culture war issue. However, beneath the surface, their actions are deeply rooted in racism and will have grave consequences. It is crucial to recognize that this assault on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is not isolated but part of a broader, calculated plan to establish a fascist stronghold within Texas.
By dismantling DEI offices and obstructing amendments to safeguard marginalized communities, Republicans have unequivocally demonstrated their refusal to conceal their racist agenda. Their objective is clear: to perpetuate discrimination against minority groups and maintain a status quo that favors privilege and advantage.
Recognizing that this issue transcends political posturing or partisan disputes is imperative. The ramifications are profound and far-reaching, affecting the very fabric of our society. We must stand against this assault on DEI, lest we allow Texas to descend into a state where bigotry and discrimination flourish unchecked.
SB 17 will go back to the Senate again for final approval and then be sent to the Governor’s desk. Once the bill is signed, it will become law. After that, we should expect to see a flurry of lawsuits to block the law from becoming a reality. The battle against discrimination and the preservation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Texas universities and colleges must persist, undeterred by the determined efforts of those who seek to undermine progress and perpetuate injustice. Stay tuned.