January 11, 2024

Business, Tech, And Civil Rights Leaders Criticize Elon Musk’s “Abhorrent And Pathetic” DEI Attacks

Elon Musk

In recent days, Elon Musk has drawn criticism from business, tech, and civil rights leaders for his disparaging tweets about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

DEI initiatives aim to rectify historical and ongoing discrimination by providing equal access and opportunities for underrepresented groups.

However, South African billionaire and owner of Tesla, Space X, and X – formerly known as Twitter – has repeatedly labeled these efforts discriminatory and called for them to “die”.

“DEI is just another word for racism. Shame on anyone who uses it,” Musk said in a recent tweet.

DEI makes business sense

Several public figures have taken to X to challenge Musk’s remarks.

Among them is Mark Cuban, the entrepreneur and investor who rose to prominence as owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and star of the reality TV show Shark Tank.

In a thread, Cuban broke down each letter of the acronym, stressing the business value of a diverse workforce and equity.

“There are people of various races, ethnicities, orientation, etc that are regularly excluded from hiring consideration. By extending our hiring search to include them, we can find people that are more qualified,” he stated.

Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital, supported Cuban’s stance on X, sharing her own experience of Cuban’s $6 million into her fund.

“He said without question that I’m in rooms he’ll never be in,” Hamilton said before confirming that Cuban held her to the same standards as anyone else.

“There is no sugar coating… He wants to see a return in his investment… It’s up to us to make that true.”

Does DEI Make Air Travel Less Safe? No

Musk’s latest line of attack appears to be the air travel industry – claiming that DEI efforts at Boeing and United Airlines’ diversity efforts with HBCUs make flying less safe.

“Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety?” Musk tweeted.

His comments have invited racist commentary from users on the platform, including debunked claims about the intelligence of Black people.

“The HBCU IQ averages are within 10 points of the threshold for what is considered borderline intellectual impairment,” tweeted one user. 

Musk responded, “It will take an airplane crashing and killing hundreds of people for them to change this crazy policy of DIE.”

The link between IQ, cognitive ability, and SAT scores is widely discredited.

Moreover, the SAT scores at Hampton University, Elizabeth City State University, and Delaware State University – the HBCUs in question – are in keeping with national averages.

Moreover, the SATs have been shown to reflect racial inequality in the US, according to Futurism.

Civil Rights Figures Speak Out

Akil Bello, Senior Director of Advocacy and Advancement at FairTest, told Gizmodo, “The whole conversation is obviously racist on its face.”

“It specifically insults the intelligence of entire universities, picking and choosing statistics and ignoring facts to make the basic argument that if you’re Black, you’re unqualified.”

Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, told NBC News that Musk’s comments were “abhorrent and pathetic.”

Morial pointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged abuse of Black employees and Musk’s apparent inaction when dealing with discrimination at his own companies.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson responded to Musk on X.

“Reminder to @elonmusk: providing a home for the proliferation of hate speech and white supremacist conspiracy theories kills people. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion cultivate a more inclusive society,” he wrote.

Article Tags : , , ,
Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.