Wednesday, June 19, 2024

How W.E.B. DuBois Might Have Felt About DEI in the Nonprofit C-Suite

W.E.B. Du Bois | Biography, Education, Books, & Facts | Britannica

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

In Springfield, Illinois last week the legislature passed and sent SB 2930 to the Governor.  The bill requires larger nonprofits -- private foundations mostly -- to report the demographics of their directors and officers. Apparently to shame charities into doing what cannot be mandated.  Local news says the Governor might sign it this week if he hasn’t already. Here is the text:

Within 30 days after filing its annual AG990-IL Charitable Organization Annual Report, a corporation that reports grants of $1,000,000 or more to other charitable organizations shall post on its publicly available website, if one exists, the aggregated demographic information of the corporation’s directors and officers, including race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.  The aggregate information shall be accessible on the corporation’s publicly available website for at least 3 years after it is posted.

It's a response to a growing sense that charitable governance is increasingly in the hands of a single demographic. And that DEI in charitable board rooms generates more public benefit. One has to wonder about indirect DEI measures after Students for Fair Admissions.  The Supreme Court’s demand that we pretend to live in a post-racial society might be inconsistent even with disclosure mandates.  If the government can neither mandate nor explicitly encourage DEI what business does it have asking about it? 

“This law is a prime example of the fundamental incoherence of leftist identity politics,” America First Legal Senior Vice President Reed D. Rubinstein told the DCNF. “Demanding that only non-profit corporations reporting grants of $1,000,000 or more to other charitable organizations post ‘demographic’ information on their directors and officers is almost certainly illegal and unconstitutional.”

I prefer not to pretend racism doesn’t exist nor beg  for my inclusion. I felt that way long before SFFA. I like W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1934 sentiment instead:

"Surely then, in this period of frustration and disappointment, we must turn from negation to affirmation, from the ever-lasting 'No' to the ever-lasting 'Yes.' Instead of sitting, sapped of all initiative and independence; instead of drowning our originality in imitation of mediocre white folks; instead of being afraid of ourselves and cultivating the art of skulking to escape the Color Line; we have got to renounce a program that always involves humiliating self-stultifying scrambling to crawl somewhere where we are not wanted; where we crouch panting like a whipped dog. We have got to stop this and learn that on such a program they cannot build manhood. No, by God, stand erect in a mud-puddle and tell the white world to go to hell, rather than lick boots in a parlor."

That’s all I have to say about that.

darryll k. jones

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