- President-elect Joe Biden will likely walk back President Trump’s executive order cracking down on some diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) trainings.
- That’s according to three diversity consultants, who say it’s likely that Biden will prioritize DEI work during his presidency.
- The executive order banned agencies or companies receiving federal funding from participating in certain diversity trainings.
- But leaders need to resist the urge to become complacent with DEI policies right now, consultants told Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, he will likely undo President Trump’s executive order cracking down on some diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) trainings, consultants who work with Fortune 500 companies told Business Insider.
Trump’s order, which was passed on Sept. 22, banned agencies or companies receiving federal funding from participating in what the administration calls “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” trainings.
Days after the executive order was signed, the Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies to review trainings that included terms such as “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” and “unconscious bias.”
Diversity consultants told Business Insider this will likely change under Biden, who has a 26-page plan on how he will combat racial inequity in his administration.
“A potential Biden presidency assures DEI work remains a priority at the highest levels of government,” Christie Lindor, CEO of diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy Tessi Consulting, told Business Insider.
“He has already demonstrated his commitment by ensuring diverse representation at the highest levels of government in his choice of selecting the first African American and first Indian American woman to be his vice president,” she said.
Other consultants agreed.
“It was absurd,” Tiffany Jana, diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist and co-author of the book “Subtle Acts of Exclusion,” said of Trump’s executive order.
“That thing will last five minutes of Joe Biden’s office,” Jana, who uses they/them pronouns, told Business Insider. “He served as vice president to the nation’s first Black president, and picked a woman of color as his vice president.”
Biden promises to “promote diversity and accountability in leadership across key positions in all federal agencies,” according to his Build Back Better Agenda.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which has taken legal action against the Trump administration over the executive order, is also hopeful.
“We have every hope that the Biden administration would rescind the executive order,” Jin Hee Lee, senior deputy director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) told HR Dive.
The organization told HR Dive it would continue to pursue legal action if the Biden administration does not rescind the order.
But it is still too early to say the impact that Biden will have on DEI. Some consultants told Business Insider they fear companies could become complacent under an administration that openly supports diversity initiatives.
For instance, the election of Barack Obama, the country’s first Black president, led many Americans to believe that the US was a post-racial world. The same might happen now that Kamala Harris is the first female, Black, and of Indian descent vice president elect, said Doris Quintanilla, executive director and cofounder of The Melanin Collective, a DEI consultancy.
“People might say ‘See racism was defeated. This is the end of white supremacy. It lost. Don’t you see who’s vice president?’ It’s much like when people said ‘Racism is gone. Obama is president,'” Quintanilla told Business Insider.
“That’s not how it works,” she added.
Harris’s election is indeed a victory for women, girls, female-identifying, Black people, immigrants, and people of color, Jana explained. “But we can’t rest on our laurels, there’s work to be done,” they said.
Jana encouraged corporate leaders to continue investing in DEI work, as well as implementing policies that create equity for people of color, such as instituting and enforcing zero-tolerance rules for hate speech on employees’ social media platforms, and immediately changing hiring boards if they are all male and all white.
“We have to stay the course and stay vigilant,” they said.
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