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Mark Cuban Defends DEI Framework Amid Widespread Criticism on X

The entrepreneur responded to Elon Musk’s claim that DEI is ‘just another word for racism’

Mark Cuban Defends DEI Framework Amid Widespread Criticism on X

Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban took to X to defend the use of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) frameworks in business.

Cuban’s support for the practice comes amid widespread criticism of DEI usage from pundits, including X owner Elon Musk.

“DEI is just another word for racism,” Musk said in a Jan. 3 post. “Shame on anyone who uses it.”

He added, in a separate post: “Discrimination on the basis of race, which DEI does, is literally the definition of racism.”

Cuban reposted Musk’s comment and offered to “help you out” by offering his thoughts on the practice.

“Good businesses look where others don't, to find the employees that will put your business in the best possible position to succeed,” the entrepreneur said. “You may not agree, but I take it as a given that there are people of various races, ethnicities, orientation, etc that are regularly excluded from hiring consideration. By extending our hiring search to include them, we can find people that are more qualified.”

He added: “The loss of DEI-Phobic companies is my gain.”

Cuban outlined the benefits of utilizing the DEI framework in commerce.

In his view, a diverse workforce that is representative of stakeholders is good for business. He described equity as “a core principle of business” that involves recognizing the differences between employees in a way that plays to their strengths. For him, inclusion consists of creating an environment that doesn’t cause employees “unnecessary stress” and allows them to “feel comfortable.” Although, he acknowledged, “it’s not easy.”

Cuban went on to compare the practice to healthcare, saying that, “DEI is not seen as a core competency in most companies. It's just a huge expense. Intellectually they see the benefit of DEI. But they don't have time to focus on it So it turns into a check box that they hope they don't have to deal with beyond having HR do a report to the board and legal tells them they are covered.”

“If you don't think there is a need for DEI and it doesn't create a competitive advantage for your company, just look at the X posts/replies/quotes below,” he concluded. “These are the same people that work for you or are your co-workers. Everyone is entitled to their POV, but these same feelings, even if they are not said out-loud, are heard loud and clear at work.”

A number of well-known X pundits and commentators corresponded with Cuban’s post, which received over 12 million views at the time of writing.

Ohio Sen. JD Vance quipped, “Do the Dallas Mavericks reflect the demographics of America as a whole?” defines DEI as “a conceptual framework that promotes the fair treatment and full participation of all people, especially in the workplace, including populations who have historically been underrepresented or subject to discrimination because of their background, identity, disability, etc.”

However, vocal critics of DEI claim the framework, while it may appear to be positive in theory, causes irreparable harm wherever it is implemented.

“DEI was not about diversity in its purest form, but rather DEI was a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups that are deemed oppressed under DEI’s own methodology,” said billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman in a post that Musk shared in his initial comment about DEI. “Under DEI’s ideology, any policy, program, educational system, economic system, grading system, admission policy, (and even climate change due its disparate impact on geographies and the people that live there), etc. that leads to unequal outcomes among people of different skin colors is deemed racist.”

He compared the DEI movement to techniques associated with the Red Scares and McCarthyism.

Ackman added:

When one examines DEI and its ideological heritage, it does not take long to understand that the movement is inherently inconsistent with basic American values. Our country since its founding has been about creating and building a democracy with equality of opportunity for all. Millions of people have left behind socialism and communism to come to America to start again, as they have seen the destruction leveled by an equality of outcome society.

“DEI is the repackaged Marxism in the name of anti-racism,” replied New Hampshire congressional candidate Lily Tang Williams, a survivor of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. “Mao divided Chinese into Oppressor vs Oppressed by using ‘Class’, 5 black classes vs. 5 red classes, they fought each other like enemies, 20M died during the Cultural Revolution. DEI used race, same communist tactic.”

Commentator Ed Krassenstein countered claims that DEI is racist on X, citing blind recruitment processes as an example.

“They are a part of DEI and are aimed to completely remove the possibility of racism,” he wrote in a reply to Musk. “There are plenty of other examples as well. Your mass labeling of DEI as being racist just isn’t accurate.”

Discourse among those with conflicting views of DEI were renewed recently amid controversies involving former Harvard president Claudine Gay.

Gay, who was criticized over antisemitism on campus and accusations of plagiarism, resigned for the university on Jan. 2.

Ackman, who has donated millions to Harvard in the past, was one of the first people to call for Gay's resignation in early December.

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