ACLU announces plans to safeguard DEI and anti-discrimination policies if Trump reelected News
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ACLU announces plans to safeguard DEI and anti-discrimination policies if Trump reelected

The ACLU on Wednesday released its strategy to safeguard racial equality and civil rights in the US in the event Donald Trump is elected in November to another term as president.

The advocacy group warned that after Trump left office, two-thirds of Americans believed his leadership had heightened racial tension in the country, explaining:

The backdrop for that widespread sentiment was the Trump administration’s sustained assault on political, civic, and legal efforts to promote racial justice; Trump’s consistent use of inflammatory racist rhetoric; and his transparent pursuit of a white supremacist agenda rooted in racial grievance.

In 2020, as then-President Trump campaigned against current-President Joe Biden for reelection, the high-profile killings of several unarmed Black men and women — whether by police or would-be vigilantes — spurred a national reckoning with systemic racism. These events highlighted deep-seated inequalities and injustices, galvanizing a widespread protest movement for racial justice and reform.

Against this backdrop, many universities, companies, and government agencies across the country announced new or emboldened diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) frameworks. Proponents of these initiatives laud their efforts to repair some of the damage of systemic racism within professional and student communities by bolstering the representation of historically underrepresented groups. Critics claim they discriminate against historically overrepresented groups, such as white men.

As has become commonplace in an increasingly divided US, views on DEI frameworks are split along partisan lines. A 2023 Pew poll found 78% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters believed enhanced focus on DEI in workplaces was a positive development; for Republican and Republican-leaning voters, that figure was 30%. In 2020, Trump banned DEI trainings in federal agencies and NGOs receiving federal funding. Three months later, the incoming Biden administration reversed that ban.

Fearing that a Trump win could lead to a racial justice regression, ACLU laid out a roadmap of plans to fight for DEI and anti-discrimination protections in the courts and via other advocacy efforts.

In particular, the organization vowed to: challenge efforts to stifle education related to DEI and anti-discrimination policy; intensify efforts to defend educational access for students of color; challenge efforts to roll back anti-discrimination protections; and strengthen DEI policy interventions at the state and local levels.

DEI remains a controversial topic heading into the US elections. Earlier this week, a conservative organization sued Northwestern University Law School, alleging its anti-discrimination efforts were in themselves discriminatory by granting preference based on sex and race. The organization — Faculty, Alumni, & Students Opposed to Racial Preferences (FASORP) — summarized the critical view in its complaint:

Faculty hiring at American universities is a cesspool of corruption and lawlessness. For decades, left-wing faculty and administrators have been thumbing their noses at federal anti-discrimination statutes and openly discriminating on account of race and sex when appointing professors. They do this by hiring women and racial minorities with mediocre and undistinguished records over white men who have better credentials, better scholarship, and better teaching ability.