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Need To Know with Dr. Nsenga Burton-Understanding the Attack on DEI
Episode 15311th July 2024 • TonyTidbit: A Black Executive Perspective • TonyTidbit ™
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Episode Audio Link: https://podcast.ablackexec.com/episode/need-to-know-with-dr-nsenga-burton-understanding-the-attack-on-dei

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In this episode of 'Need to Know,' Dr. Nsenga Burton delves into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and its significance in creating an equitable society. She addresses the recent political backlash against DEI, discussing how it is misrepresented as promoting unqualified candidates. Dr. Burton uses the example of the Francis Scott Key Bridge accident to illustrate how DEI principles are falsely accused. Emphasizing that DEI aims to ensure fairness and opportunities for historically disenfranchised populations, she underscores its importance in fostering a just, inclusive community.


▶︎ In This Episode

00:00: Introduction to Need to Know with Dr. Nsenga Burton

00:18: Understanding DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

01:12: The Republican Dog Whistle Against DEI

02:43: Case Study: The Francis Scott Key Bridge Incident

05:34: The Impact of Mislabeling and Dehumanization

06:39: Conclusion: The True Essence of DEI

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Transcripts

BEP Narrator:

A Black Executive Perspective now presents Need to Know

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with the award winning hyphenated Dr.

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Nsenga Burton.

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Dr.

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Burton.

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What do we need to know?

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Dr. Nsenga Burton: Hi, this

is Nsenga Burton bringing you

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your need to know moment today.

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And today we're going to be talking

about the wonderful DEI, diversity,

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equity, and inclusion, which is under

attack by many, many different factions.

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Of our society, um, DEI which is really

about inclusion and belonging and making

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sure that people who are usually qualified

and overly qualified, um, have access to

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the same, um, types of jobs, education,

you know, various institutions as.

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Those who have been part of the, um,

ruling class is what we would say

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in academic setting, but those who

have been historically empowered.

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So, you know, diversity, equity and

inclusion is really about historically

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disenfranchised populations and

how to bring them into the fold in

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a way that is equitable as we try

to create a more fairer society.

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Fair and just, or some would

say egalitarian society.

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So it's been really interesting, um, as

of late that DEI, um, has become sort

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of a Republican dog whistle, um, and has

been presented as something other than

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the desire to create a more equitable

and just society, but it has become,

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uh, a term that is now, um, aligned

with being less than, uh, with being,

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um, Unqualified with being, uh, part

of a movement and this is not true.

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Right?

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These are just what people are saying and

doing in order to take away opportunities

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from historically disenfranchised

populations and these options that they

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otherwise would not have because we do

know when these Members of a historically

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disenfranchised populations met all the

criteria, met all of the qualifications

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exceeded those qualifications.

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They still were not given the nod.

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They still were not admitted to schools.

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They still were not given jobs or

awarded jobs that they had applied for.

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Some weren't even allowed

to have interviews.

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Right?

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And so all of these things, um.

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Are tied up in diversity, equity and

inclusion and why, you know, diversity,

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equity and inclusion is important.

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So, an example of what I'm talking

about when we talk about a dog whistle

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is when you change the meaning of

something so that it becomes, um,

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it becomes a, A negative, right?

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It becomes, uh, something other

than what is an original intent is.

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So example, uh, you all have been watching

the unfolding of, or the aftermath

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of the collapse of the Francis Scott

Key Bridge in Baltimore last month,

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you know, it's in Maryland and, um.

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You know, it was purely an accident.

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It's still under investigation,

but for all intents and purposes,

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it was an accident that happened.

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In fact, the people who warned, uh,

the police, uh, who subsequently

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died in the accident, the only

people to have died in the accident,

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uh, were, uh, immigrants, right?

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So, um, and Latinx immigrants,

um, who were working.

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Um, on the bridge at the

time of the collapse.

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So had they not been employed, we don't

know what would have happened or might

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have happened, but we do know that

they did warn the police, um, and the

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police were able to keep people from

going onto the bridge, which would

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have led to a greater catastrophe.

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I say all of those things to say,

this is an accident that happened.

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The mayor of Baltimore is

Brandon Scott, a young man.

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He's 39 years old, native Baltimorean.

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And the governor of Maryland

is Wes Moore again, native

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Baltimorean, um, African American.

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Um, and the port commissioner

is a black woman named Corinthia

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Barber, again, native Baltimorean.

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I lived in Baltimore for 10 years.

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So, I am familiar with Baltimore,

its politics and all of the, the

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things, um, um, that, uh, are

surrounding this particular case.

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I've driven across the Francis

Scott Key Bridge many, many times.

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Um, so when this happened, what

happened, uh, or some of the things

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that you might have seen is, um, people

on Twitter saying, oh, the DEI Mayor.

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Um, this is why this accident

happened because they have an

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unqualified DEI Mayor in place.

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This is why this accident happened

because they have an unqualified

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DEI port commissioner in place.

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This is why this accident happened

because we have the DEI governor

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unqualified governor in place.

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Right?

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So, this idea that anything that is

diverse, particularly black, right?

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It's rooted in anti black racism, but

anything that is diverse anything that is

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black has to be less than an unqualified.

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Right?

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Even when the facts state the

opposite, it was an accident.

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Accidents do happen.

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It was awful that this happened.

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Um, and there was no attention paid to

the quick response, um, by the governor

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who looked very presidential to me.

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Um, by Mr.

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Scott, you know, Brandon, um, who

looked like a leader of a city

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and a, uh, uh, county and a state.

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You know, that was under

great duress because of this.

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Um, and so you have like, Phil

Lyman, who's a GOP Republican

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gubernatorial candidate out of Utah.

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Who's saying, you know, calling

them the DEIs right versus.

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Calling them by their names and so

what this does is 1st of all, it

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makes people have, um, an incorrect

understanding of what is right.

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And my lines and miss labels.

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This is the 2nd part lines and this

labels people and what they're doing.

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Third, it dehumanizes whole human

beings like Wes Moore and Brandon

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Scott and Corinthia ba uh, barber,

uh, it dehumanizes them so that you

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feel okay about calling them less

than or underqualified, um, because

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you know, you value them less, right?

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All of those things happen when you

use these dog whistle tactics, right?

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You, you use these tactics.

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To bring out the conservatives, to

bring out the people, to criticize,

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um, who have no real information.

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Um, and the same thing would have

happened had you had Republicans

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in office at that time, right?

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This was an accident was that was

unavoidable, um, to a large extent.

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Um, and then the challenges that were

happening, um, have nothing to do with

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those individuals or their qualifications.

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So why would you do that?

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Um, Other than to mislead people,

so I'm gonna wrap this up, but I

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just wanted to be clear that DEI

which is actually a positive thing.

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It's about diversity, equity, inclusion

and belonging, creating a sense of

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belonging so that people can be a part

of whatever institution business church.

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Educational institution, whatever

institution, um, they can be a part of it.

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If they are qualified, if they

want to, and then if they do gain

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admittance that they are treated

fairly and equitably once they are

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there, that is what diversity equity

and inclusion is about is not about.

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You know, given handouts to people, it's

not about putting people in places who

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are unqualified, even though we've seen

a lot of that happening, particularly

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under this previous administration,

national administration, which is

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why the mail system is in a complete

disarray and horribly run currently.

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But, you know, we don't

talk about that person.

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We don't say, oh, they put

another white man in there.

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So it's gonna be terrible.

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Because it's ridiculous.

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That sounds ridiculous, right?

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Yeah.

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Okay.

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And I know it's not equally yoked.

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What I am saying is, and it's not an equal

argument because of the power dynamics.

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But what I'm saying to you

is DEI is a good thing.

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DEI is about giving people who

are qualified and who have paid

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their dues and who have done

what they needed to do a shot.

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In a place, often a workplace, often

an educational institution that they

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normally would not get the nod for

just because they're actually black

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or they're actually Latinx or they're

Asian or they're whatever, right?

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They wouldn't get the nod necessarily.

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So that's what it is about.

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It's about inclusion, right?

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Not about unqualified people

getting jobs they don't deserve and

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running the country into the ground.

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So I just wanted to make that clear.

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And that is your need to

know note from Nsenga.

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BEP Narrator: A black.

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Executive perspective.

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