PERSPECTIVES: So Mr. Brown Says, “DEI is Dead” ….

The confusing and problematic message makes sense. (Spoiler alert: Consider the messenger.)

When I read the report on Mr. Martin D. Brown’s recent speech at VMI, I was struck by the reported enthusiasm of his words. Not having read his speech, I was curious about a leader of a state organization who would purportedly deliver such a screed in which he said, “Let’s take a moment right now to kill that cow. DEI is dead.”

While emotions can be useful, we should guard them to not become zealots for any cause. Interested in this Commonwealth of Virginia office leader, I looked for Mr. Brown online and read the following on an official state website. “Who We Are: The Commonwealth Chief Diversity, Opportunity & Inclusion Officer with a stronger and more focused role in promoting ideas, policies, and economic opportunities for disadvantaged Virginians, including Virginians living with disabilities, and bringing Virginians of different faiths together.”

Read those words carefully. Here we have an officer of the state government writing and publishing a sentence fragment to describe his charge as an appointed officer of the governor of the Commonwealth. A sentence fragment is not a complete thought, and it is easy to see by reading the above-italicized words that Mr. Brown has not thought out what is expressed in his job description. His words illustrate his confusion.

Not only is the description of Mr. Brown’s position grammatically wrong, but it is also unclear. Instead of clarifying, it confuses. Like so many statements of the zealot, this jumble of buzzwords makes no sense. The heading “Who We Are” only describes Mr. Brown because of the singular use of Officer, so the reader is left to assume that it only represents Mr. Brown. The fragment also states that he is “stronger” and “more focused” but never explains stronger and more focused he is. And last, just as he did in his speech at VMI,  he cannot omit religion and says, “bringing Virginians of different faiths together.”

This jumble is a screed that uses buzzwords, demonstrating a lack of thought and examination, leading to confusion. It must be so, for why else would an appointed officer of an office devoted to diversity say, “DEI is dead.”

(It is not.)

Leave a Reply