DEI theories of systemic racism, promoted with such swaggering confidence by ideologues, have enjoyed passive acceptance for many years by a credulous public, writes Barbara Kay. (Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images, Shutterstock)

Rigorous DEI Studies Set the Record Straight on the Flawed Agenda

In 2016, the Law Society of Ontario published a report, “Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees: Best Practices memorandum,” setting out LSO expectations of members in combatting alleged “systemic racism” in the profession.
Henceforth, every licensee would be required “to adopt and to abide by a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equality, diversity and inclusion generally, and in their behaviour towards colleagues, employees, clients and the public.” The LSO also demanded demonstration of “a personal valuing” of these principles.

In other words, the LSO was demanding that lawyers and paralegals draft and then abide by a set of political ideas, both professionally and personally, based in racial identity, as a condition for the right to practice. Failure to draft and sign such a statement could result in licence suspension.

Apart from it being compelled speech, there are practical reasons for dissent. For one thing, the obvious corollary to affirmative action to bring about inflation in the numbers of racialized LSO members must result in the deflation of disproportionately represented non-racialized groups, such as white Jewish lawyers.

 

Litigator Murray Klippenstein considers himself a liberal. He has won awards for his advocacy for access to justice. He is also the descendant of devout Mennonites who fled religious persecution in Russia. The ravages of totalitarianism were a very present reality in his formation. In their prayers, his parents would frequently express thanks to God that “we live in a free country.” This background helps to explain why Klippenstein took his dissent from the “statement of principles” to an extraordinary level: first refusing to comply, and eventually winding down his law firm to allow him complete independence in his resistance.


In 2022, Klippenstein filed an unprecedented lawsuit, at his own expense ($100,000) against the LSO, requesting that the court order the Law Society to provide him with copies of internal documents related to its diversity and inclusion policies and programs. The society’s statement of defence denied that Klippenstein had a right to the information.
In December 2023, after two years of resistance, the Law Society rather surprisingly agreed to provide all the requested documents, and they were delivered to Klippenstein through Klippenstein’s legal counsels. The LSO also agreed to pay his legal costs.

Reviewing the documents, Klippenstein found that the in-house research the LSO had used to justify the implementation of the “statement of principles” confirmed what he has long suggested, which is that there was “no basis for the important claim in the Law Society’s Challenges Report that it presented an accurate picture of concerns about racism in the legal professions as a whole.”

Klippenstein found that the study on which the Challenges Report was founded—for which they paid $171,000—was methodologically flawed. Contrary to the standards of legitimate scholarship, the study suffered from an exceptionally low response rate leading to a miniscule sample size. It also relied on a sample of self-selected participants rather than the gold standard of a random sample, and moreover failed to differentiate between participants in terms of their employment positions, while neglecting to report on the non-response rate. According to Klippenstein, “I see some signs that this mess of a report was the result of close political hands-on interference and direction in the study process by some benchers and staff with a predetermined EDI agenda.”

By coincidence, a meta-study on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) research published by the Aristotle Foundation for Public Policy was released on Feb. 12, titled “Reality Check: What DEI research concludes about diversity training.” In it, David Haskell, social scientist and associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) concludes from a survey of numerous other studies in this domain that DEI training does more harm than good. In fact, Haskell’s study opens with the tragic case of public school principal Richard Bilkszto, whose July 2023 suicide has been plausibly linked to bullying by a DEI trainer in response to his respectful querying of one of her claims, and the consequent shunning by his peers and professional demotion that brought on serious depression.
Haskell cites a meta-study by Princeton University professor of psychology and public affairs Elizabeth Paluck and her research team, published in 2021, which reviewed 418 experiments reported in over 300 manuscripts from 2007 to 2019. They found support for DEI as dubious as a similar study Paluck and a colleague from Yale had conducted in 2009. She concluded that the studies suffered from serious weaknesses in their “internal and external validity.” In plain language, they don’t accurately measure what they say they measure, and they suffer from troubling indications of publication bias to boot, as in the case of the LSO study.
In even plainer terms, as Haskell put it to me in an interview, we are not seeing best practices in these studies, but an “agenda.” “People should realize that this shell game is happening all the time,” he said. “Organizations indoctrinated into DEI ideology again and again rely on very low-quality research to justify the implementation of DEI initiatives. They have to rely on the flawed ‘scholarship,’ because if they relied on methodologically rigorous research they know it would contradict their claims.”

Haskell brought both academic competency and personal experience to his task. He told me that as justification for a new set of DEI policies, the administration at WLU depended on an in-house study conducted by undergraduate students that was “so biased and methodologically flawed it would have gotten an ‘F’ in a first-year research methods class.” Nevertheless, the illiberal policies are now in place, and he, like all his colleagues, is subject to ideology-based strictures he can do nothing about.

DEI theories of systemic racism, promoted with such swaggering confidence by ideologues, have enjoyed passive acceptance for many years by a credulous public. But according to another coincidental report by Eric Kaufmann, titled “The Politics of the Culture Wars in Contemporary Canada” and published this month by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, attitudes are shifting.
Kaufmann, a professor of politics at the University of Buckingham, defines “culture wars” as the “contention between cultural socialism–prioritizing equal results and protection from emotional harms for minority groups–and both cultural liberalism and conservatism, which prioritize free speech, objective truth, due process, and national heritage.”

Finding highlights include: “By a two to one margin, survey participants said we talk too much about race in Canada”; “by 70 to 30, people prefer a colour blind rather than colour-conscious approach to issues in society”; and “Those who have taken diversity training are significantly more fearful of losing their job or reputation for what they say than those who have not.”

The people have spoken. DEI must go.