During a recent Congressional proceeding, a State Department official adeptly dismantled Republican arguments against the promotion of initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion. The official, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, was speaking with Rep. Cory Mills (R-Fla.), a first-term Congressman who is very prominently allied with Donald Trump.
“If you were to have a group of males of Caucasian or any skin color who identified as a woman of color, would you describe that room as being a diverse room?” Mills asked.
“I do not believe that they would have to identify as a woman of color for it to be a diverse room,” Abercrombie-Winstanley replied, expertly dismantling any Republican idea that diversity is an inherently anti-white notion. GOP political leaders like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have embraced this false notion, targeting initiatives to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion on Florida college campuses. Also, the point of allowing space for self-identification isn’t about just anybody saying whatever. It’s opening the discussion to hidden realities of people’s lived experiences.
Mills subsequently launched into a bizarre series of complaints about people trying to root out racism and other bigotry supposedly applying those descriptors to innocent differences of opinion. “What you see is, is that when an individual disagrees, whether it be on his political opinions or things like this, he’s immediately labeled based on his skin color that he is to have… white privilege, right? And that is the immediate assumption,” Mills complained.
The concept of white privilege isn’t inherently derogatory towards those who have it, though? It defies logic to suggest that history doesn’t prove that, to use one example, white people often have better encounters with police than Black individuals do. And how about economics and the long-term effects of decisions that have left some Black communities struggling to meet their basic needs?
“The issue is access and inclusion,” the Biden official explained. “When I say access, for instance, one of the things that Congress has helped us do is pay our interns. I could not afford to be an intern at the Department of State. I come from Ohio; I had to work.” Mills interrupted by explaining some of his personal background and reiterating his argument that merit somehow nonetheless automatically paves the way for sought advancements.
“If you have the same people sitting at the table with similar backgrounds, similar experiences, you are going to have a very narrow range of options,” Abercrombie-Winstanley said, discussing why inclusion is important. “That is why we’re trying to broaden the aperture in that fashion.”