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The Controversy Surrounding DEI Programs:
A Former Teacher's Perspective
In a recent article, former California high school teacher Kali Fontanilla voiced her concerns about the growing trend of elite universities offering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Fontanilla argues that these programs, which focus on addressing unconscious bias and systemic inequities, are turning into lucrative ventures for universities, while exacerbating racial divisions.
Fontanilla criticizes what she calls "race hustlers," referring to individuals who profit from promoting DEI ideologies. She highlights the high fees charged by universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Georgetown for their DEI certificate programs. These programs aim to educate students about bias, marginalization, and the history of structural inequities. However, Fontanilla argues that instead of fostering inclusivity, DEI rhetoric isolates people of color and encourages others to view them differently.
The article also includes a statement from the University of Pennsylvania, justifying the high cost of their $9,368 DEI certificate. The university asserts that there is an urgent need to address systemic racism, sexism, classism, queerphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of institutional discrimination.
Fontanilla disagrees with this approach, claiming that DEI programs only perpetuate racism and lead to further divisions in society. She argues that corporations are hiring DEI activists to monitor and train their employees based on their interactions with others of different races, which she believes is unnecessary and counterproductive.
Fontanilla shares her personal experience of encountering DEI curriculum during her teaching career, expressing her discomfort with being treated differently based on her race. She believes that actions such as letting someone go first or excessively listening to them based on their skin color only contribute to the problem.
The article also features the perspectives of University of Pennsylvania student Peter Kapp and Stanford College Republican Walker Stewart. Both students claim that although DEI programs are not yet mandatory, they feel pressured to participate in order to secure future job opportunities.
This controversy surrounding DEI programs raises important questions about the effectiveness and impact of such initiatives. While some argue that they are essential in addressing systemic inequities, others express concerns about the potential division and discrimination they may inadvertently perpetuate. The debate continues as universities and institutions navigate the complex landscape of diversity and inclusion.
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