Diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, has become a very popular topic in the last few years. Recently, I had the pleasure of spending time with Kevin McGary, a leading thought expert on diversity, equity and inclusion. Kevin has been pivotal in our quest to develop a Biblically based DEI program that celebrates human connectedness and offers recipients hope and unity by aligning all people’s strengths, and reinforces that no one person’s pain is greater than another’s. I also consider Kevin a good friend.
I was blessed to meet Kevin through the Pinnacle Forum group. Pinnacle Forum was created to help connect C-Suite-level executives into groups that allows them to support each executive in their sphere of influence as it relates to their walk with the Lord. Kevin is the chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California and brings to us an enlightened viewpoint on what is happening, societally, within the United States. Much of this I have witnessed through my HR experiences the past 30 years, as we have seen the deterioration of the family, and, in return, the deterioration of the workplace in general.
While many Caucasian and Black leaders shy away from discussing uncomfortable, difficult issues, Kevin and I want to share some of our collective experiences as, respectively, a Black man and a Caucasian man living in America to generate greater understanding of these difficult topics from our distinct perspectives.
While Kevin and I do not share the same skin color, we do share the same frustrations with the current happenings in our society. We certainly don’t want to politicize the situation, but we are finding it increasingly difficult to bring our country together. From my perspective, I wonder how Black Americans do not see the destruction that the Democratic party has created in their community, specifically in regard to NAFTA and its promotion by the Clinton administration. Taking tens of thousands of jobs out of the cities disproportionately affected the Black community and never made sense to me. I recall, in grad school, being told that we were “evolving to a more tech-centric economy.” Well, as we know, most of those tech-centric jobs ended up in third world countries, where wages are nowhere near as much as they would be in the US.
Not only did we lose jobs as a country, but those jobs went to places that don’t have the same child labor laws and green laws that we have enacted in America. I have been to India and witnessed the impact on their people and their environment. Sadly, many employees in India working for American companies do so on work campuses, sending their wages back to their respective villages to support their families. This doesn’t cause prosperity; this breaks up families and creates more pain. A much better approach could be to develop work locally and support that work with microfinancing. Much of the manufacturing that formed the backbone of our country fed tens of thousands of families and gave dignity to those who work there. Without work, where are people to gain dignity? Work is Biblical. Adam and Eve had jobs in the Garden of Eden. And, someday, we will all be using our gifts, talents and strengths in eternity with Christ.
Mark: Kevin, my question is simple. What changes have occurred that have put Black Americans at a major disadvantage in terms of prosperity here, in the US? My thinking always goes back to the deterioration of the family. The lack of the presence of two loving parents and even the lack of loving grandparents has caused so many issues with our youth. I am curious to know your opinion.
Kevin: The deterioration of the Black family is definitely a factor. But even before LBJ’s proclamations and policies specifically designed to undermine the Black family unit—remember, LBJ is recorded as having said his policies “will have the n***ers voting democrat for the next 200 years
Notably, Charles Darwin believed whites fully evolved first and were “superior” (i.e., possessing “supreme” human attributes and instincts), while Blacks were still climbing the evolutionary scale (foremost in his theories) and, therefore, he wrote, must be considered “subhuman.” He equated Blacks to apes, gorillas, and savages. In my book Woked Up! Finally putting an ax to the taproot of White Supremacy and Racism in America, I confirm that Darwin was motivated by grotesque and arcane theories of supremacy and racism. Since he was the first world-renowned scientific mind to make such assertions, I deem that Darwin’s theories are singlehandedly responsible for the disproportional abuse that has plagued and stymied Black progress for over 100 years. Having a cursory understanding of Darwin and his motivations provides context for why Blacks had to demand justice and equality, culminating in Dr. Martin Luther King’s demand that the content of character must be the overarching focus for human interactions. White people weren’t judged by their skin tone, so it wasn’t color that actually mattered: Black people’s skin color was seen as a mark of evolutionary inferiority.
Mark: And have these issues caused you to accelerate your involvement in movements against the current direction of our country?
Kevin: I am most certainly motivated to get involved in changing the socio/cultural downward trajectory of America! Unfortunately, Darwin and his protégé, Karl Marx, are still lauded and applauded globally. Their diabolical deeds to inculcate supremacy and racism have been largely ignored. Most people don’t fully comprehend the extent to which their theories have been motivated to instantiate grotesque “White Supremacy” and racism. My motivation is to make sure that people come to know the truth, so we all may be set free from these insidious mindsets.
Mark: This 1993 article from The Washington Post called out issues impacting the Black community. And this article from the Economic Policy Institute, written in 1997, cites the immediate impact that NAFTA had on American jobs, notably within just the first three years after the Agreement was enacted:
“Between 1993 and 1996, women lost 141,454 jobs to NAFTA, Blacks lost 36,890 jobs, and Hispanics lost 22,520 jobs, numbers closely reflecting these groups’ shares in manufacturing industries. Moreover, a disproportionate number of the jobs eliminated by NAFTA were manufacturing jobs, which pay relatively high wages, further contributing to NAFTA’s detrimental effect on the distribution of income and wages of working Americans.”
These are big numbers. I remember working in the garment industry during those years and the devasting plant closures that ensued. I watched one industry after another shift manufacturing overseas. I support all people in the world having the dignity of work. I have done mission work in Ukraine, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and I believe the only way out of poverty is through the dignity of a good, safe job. The difficulty lies in the jobs that have left, which have never been replaced with equal- or higher-paying jobs. We are seeing a deterioration of the workforce, not an increase in our capabilities. Finally, this article outlines the impact 25 years after the passing of NAFTA:
“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black workers have lost nearly half a million manufacturing jobs (494,000) during the NAFTA–WTO era. Black workers’ manufacturing losses were evenly spread across many subsectors that suffered significant trade-related job loss. For instance, in the automotive sector, by 2010, in just the first 15 years of NAFTA, Black workers had lost 56,524 jobs. Black workers were disproportionately represented in the primary metals manufacturing sector hit by the NAFTA–WTO era with a loss of 53,800 jobs. Black workers have also lost 22,100 jobs in the paper manufacturing industry and 18,600 jobs in the beverages and tobacco industry during the NAFTA–WTO era, two more sectors where Black workers were overrepresented relative to their general share of the workforce.”
Kevin, with these staggering statistics in mind, what suggestions do you have to reinforce that we need change to return dignity to people, but not through policy or the extension of destructive governmental programs that hinder an individual’s freedom to prosper?
Kevin: Some of the best ways to encourage the dignity of work and beget progress for any/all communities would be to reemphasize the trades! Higher education creates very high student loans and can be more burdensome (long term) than not. Skilled trades, on the other hand, continue to be in demand; most trades have proven to be “recession resistant” (resilient to economic conditions). Trades like HVAC, construction, machinery, auto mechanics, landscaping/design, etc., provide high incomes and opportunities that are mostly resistant to economic downturns. Entrepreneurship is greater for tradespeople. Also, unlike trying to “climb the corporate ladder” via “white-collar” jobs, meritocracy is more apparent in the trades arena. Therefore, people tend to achieve greater income acceleration and promotion based on skills/mastery of craft, as compared to the subjective criteria of the corporate world.
Mark: The privatization of prisons and the extreme zero policy of Democratic leaders caused a disproportionate amount of Black men to be incarcerated for de minimis amounts of drugs and narcotics in their possession. We know that the sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses versus powder cocaine were changed. This article from 1995 highlights those issues. Yet again, we trust our politicians to make the lives of our people better. This subject has been in my heart for many years. Privatizing a penal system and then decreasing the threshold of incarceration would seem, to me, to reek of impropriety. But what would you advise both the Black and Caucasian communities to do in this regard?
Kevin: There is a serious need for continued criminal justice reforms initiated under the Trump administration. With Joe Biden’s racist 1994 “criminal legislation,” Blacks were targeted and put behind bars for 25+ years for relatively minor offenses.
Judges were given great latitude as well, and this translated to large variations in sentencing; depending on the city, state, and court/judge, sentencing would vary from probation to 25+ years for the same crime! This must stop. Irrespective of where criminals decide to break laws, all criminals should know the minimum consequences for committing crimes!
Across the country, there should be consistency in sentencing guidelines. Too much power is given to DAs and judges (in certain cities), and this phenomenon has caused “woke” social justice warriors to champion over-correction on criminal justice reforms. To be sure, many cities have now implemented no-cash bail reforms (which provide a no-consequence revolving door for repeat offenders), and defunding of the police, which has allowed and encouraged many criminal activities to go unpunished.
Common-sense reforms that provide minimum sentencing requirements for all states will help restrict subjective rulings from radical judges, while also providing consistency.
Mark: Organizations now actively seek ways to create a more welcoming workplace that respects employee diversity and gives a voice to people who are often underrepresented. Whether you are a Christian-owned business or a religious-exempt employer, such as a Christian church, ministry, higher education institution, or camp, many foundations and organizations that provide grant dollars are mandating DEI. It is rumored that more and more local, state, and federal contractors that provide services to the federal government must certify that their employees have been trained in DEI.
Fortunately, we live in America, and there is no one authority that can dictate the contents of this mandated training. Many employers have sought an alternative to present, rather than the highly sexualized versions that consulting companies deliver. As an HR professional, it’s challenging to reconcile these mandates when much of the presented materials would violate current sexual harassment and workplace employment laws.
We believe that business owners and organizations can create the thriving work environment they aspire to by implementing our Bible-based, organization-wide DEI training program. In fact, much of its content aligns with the DEI training that was presented in corporate America in the ’90s. Some of the points, although presented from a secular worldview, mimic the Biblical worldview. For example:
All people are created equal.
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28
The rich and poor have this in common: the Lord made them both. – Proverbs 22:2
God sees everyone as the same.
For God does not show favoritism. – Romans 2:11
Treating all people fairly is paramount.
Yes, indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. – James 2:8–9
The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31
God loves everyone.
“The mountains may shift, and the hills may be shaken, but my faithful love won’t shift from you, and my covenant of peace won’t be shaken,” says the Lord, the one who pities you. – Isaiah 54:10
The Good News: No matter how the world changes around us, or what trials we face, HE is always there, guiding us through it all.
In a nutshell, God loves diversity, equity, and inclusion. Jesus set the example, so we should, as well. In addition to honoring Him, organizations promoting inclusive cultures provide a happier, healthier work environment. Indeed, according to a Deloitte survey, companies with inclusive cultures are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets; three times more likely to be high performing; six times more likely to be innovative and agile; and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.
Inclusive companies also produce more satisfied employees. This same survey revealed that employees in these environments were likely to stay with the company three times longer, be 28% more engaged, and were 51% more likely to recommend the company to others. For 80% of individuals surveyed, diversity, equity, and inclusion remain a hugely important factor when committing to a workplace.
Robert Sellers, chief diversity officer at the University of Michigan, compares diversity, equity and inclusion to a dance: “Diversity is where everyone is invited to the party. Equity means that everyone gets to contribute to the playlist. And inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.”
Kevin, with this being said, what is your perspective on aligning the Biblical view with DEI versus the world view, and where do you see the critical differences?
Kevin: In my book DEI in 3D, I affirm that “the most significant value of Diversity for any environment is the encouragement of divergent viewpoints; this helps promote harmonious flourishing when focused on solving problems or attempting to accomplish an objective. Actively welcoming criticisms and coordinated assessment of different plausible solutions increase the Diversity of ideas within organizational thinking. If all organizational contributors feel their input and perspective are encouraged, honored, and respected, it can foster a rich unifying experience for employees. When corporate unity is increased, an increase in overall corporate performance should accelerate. From an in-depth DEI in 3D view, a sincere and concerted effort encouraging equal opportunity for people with diversified skillsets, political leanings, ethnicity, sex/gender, etc., is needed to produce a ‘melting pot’ of Diversity to achieve a pipeline of opportunistic successes.” This aligns with the Biblical view of the Kingdom.
A secular view of DEI emphasizes equity. Within today’s DEI parlance, the equity focus connotes that since everyone is accepted as equal, there is demand for equal pay and promotion outcomes (regardless of skillset, background, competencies, etc.). Taken to its obvious extreme, equity demands that people be promoted and placed into senior positions based solely on skin color (or gender identity, like trans). Equity, when reflected as equal outcomes, allows incompetent people who are abject failures to be rewarded with high pay and promotion. This is quite divisive, because it enables personal retribution (if someone lacks melanin, for instance, and the DEI exec despises them for it, they can be displaced in deference to someone less competent). This obviously doesn’t allow a menagerie of flourishing in a diverse workplace. Instead, is causes distrust, division, and resentment. Workplaces should be vigilant about diversity, while also emphasizing a commitment to merit/meritocracy, not “equal outcomes!” This—equal outcomes—is fundamentally a communist notion and should be rejected by all who believe in equal opportunity, fairness, and promoting unity.
Mark: Kevin, we discussed some of my firsthand experiences witnessing prejudice. Growing up in a predominately white community, for example, I did not, early on, have the opportunity to work closely with people of color in a for-profit secular company environment—I had experienced some of this during my time in the Air Force, but not with anyone at a high level in corporate America. But then I took a job at a Fortune 500 company where my boss was a very successful Black man who had risen to the top of this company very quickly, and I was learning so much from him. One day, we were having lunch together at a steak house, and when the subject came up, I admitted I had never witnessed anyone white acting or sounding racist or bigoted. My boss said that racism still very much existed, and that if I hadn’t seen it, I wasn’t looking very hard for it. That made sense, because why would I be looking for the negative all the time, given I tend to assume the best about people when I meet them? At the end of the meal, the waiter brought me the check, assuming I was senior to my Black companion. My boss grinned. “Case in point, Mark. That is a subtle form of racism.” I learned my lesson that day, as it might otherwise never have registered.
Kevin, how do you see this from your perspective? That lunch was many years ago. Has it gotten better for the Black community? What would you recommend the Caucasian community, as well as the Black community, do to shine a light on things like this? How can this discussion become healing and unifying, rather than destructive?
Kevin: Racism exists! Preconceived notions, based on race, also exist. Preconceived notions (devoid of malice) should not be conflated with racism, which, in my opinion, always includes malicious/malicious intent.
We must give one another grace based on the fact there is much ignorance about changing norms and precedence. Given that personal biases based on preconceived notions tend to become visible, we must allow for this as a plausible explanation of insensitivities and ignorance, as opposed to immediately “knee-jerking” to race/racism. When we (everyone) can learn to do this, we can begin to build a basis for achieving some level of trust and unity.
Mark: Another topic we discussed, Kevin, is law enforcement. This has been a hot topic in the press for the many years, starting with Rodney King, and now particularly on the heels of the very controversial George Floyd riots. We have seen many instances these past several years that show mounting frustration and tension in our nation. People have widely differing perspectives, with some believing that defunding the police is the solution. But we have to agree that not funding the police is backfiring. I was recently in San Francisco on vacation and was shocked at the crime and the appearance that has taken over the city. Automobile break-ins are rampant, assaults on citizens are increasing, and several areas are overrun with drug abuse and homelessness. And it’s not just California. Parts of Baltimore, Detroit, and Philadelphia are unrecognizable now, in contrast to the prosperity they demonstrated in the past.
This article outlines where many of the problems stem from, and much of it sadly has to do with reduction in our police forces. When police pull people over, it’s important to be respectful, but we also expect the police to be respectful toward, albeit cautious of, the citizens they encounter. We have a court system that can help us in the event an officer is abusive. Most police now have body cameras, and if they are abusive, their actions will be recorded. Even comedian Chris Rock, who uses some salty language to give guidance, believes that respecting law enforcement is in one’s best interest.
Kevin, what recommendations would you give to our readers to help prevent these kinds of issues from continuing?
Kevin: Everyone should rally around the FACT that we need law enforcement. Too often, officers are needed to intervene in domestic violence incidents, rape/assault investigations, terror/terrorist actions, and countless other ways that help protect and save lives! Let’s face it, there are rogue nut jobs in every profession; the law enforcement profession is certainly not exempt. For officers who have proven to be “bad,” we need to demand dismissal. Regrettably, police unions are complicit in retaining bad officers. One answer is to reduce the power and privilege of police unions when there is a track record of officer abuses/misdeeds.
With U.S. borders currently “open” and people from all over the world streaming in (some confirmed terrorists, some confirmed human and sex traffickers, and countless drug/gun-running lords), reducing law enforcement is not an option. Only sincere efforts to increase law enforcement mechanisms will help protect all citizens (especially those in inner-city communities). We must be vigilant about encouraging more law enforcement, while being diligent about holding them accountable to standards of conduct conducive to public safety and personal well-being.
Mark: The second point to discuss is the case of an affluent Caucasian man who runs over a man, obstructs the investigation with false claims, is let out on bail, and then receives a sentence of a minimum of 363 days and a maximum of three years for an accident involving death or personal injury. Furthermore, from our understanding, he retained his employment and is out daily on work release. This just doesn’t seem right. I am curious: Had the driver been a Black man from Philadelphia driving through central Pennsylvania in a predominantly white community, what might the outcome have been? This strikes me to be what some call white privilege. In this case, access to quality legal assistance, to local officials, and certainly the privilege involved with this person’s influence in the community, all played a part in the outcome.
What has been your experience in this area? What would you like to share with both the Caucasian and Black communities as to how we can better ensure that the justice system treats all offenders similarly?
Kevin: As stated before, minimum sentencing guidelines are needed; this helps remove subjectivity from the meting out of so called blind justice. Judges would not be able to bend the rules to help friends/family or their favorite (or preferred) ethnicity.
Mark: Thank you for that answer; that would solve many of these issues for sure. Kevin, my heart breaks when I see great Americans like Condoleezza Rice, Candace Owens, Ben Carson, and Burgess Owens being vilified by the media and the left-leaning agenda. These are role models who should be lifted up, rather than torn down. What can we do collectively to help elevate them, rather than witness them become marginalized?
Kevin: On the issue of Black conservatives being marginalized and silenced in many ways, the best way to stop abuses of dissenting voices (on both the right and left) is to recognize everyone’s humanity, and in that, dignity and worth. When we can come to the point where we can respectfully disagree without name calling, we will see opportunities to unify around the things that really matter. Honestly, we will not be able to come to this point until we recognize the evil of Marx/Marxism, and commit to thoroughly rejecting him and all of this ideology. Marxism is wholly corrosive and violent, and because of its global mass appeal, people have gotten more divisive and aggressively violent against those who dissent.
Freedom-fighting Blacks standing for righteousness, truth, and justice are elevated and supported best when we reject mainstream Marxist media. If we reject the communists in the media, we can go much further in unifying real truth and justice.
Mark: I put myself through college by working full-time and going to college full-time, at night. I didn’t enjoy the privilege that some assert all white people have. In addition, and this is a hard topic, I spent many years in corporate America being told that I would never rise to the senior ranks of a corporate company on merit, because Blacks and women were being promoted within the ranks of HR to fulfill affirmative action requirements. If I wanted to rise, I was told I would need to go into Operations, where I would have a better chance; otherwise, no matter what I did, I would not reach those ranks. I‘m not angry about it—I understand it. I actually was blessed by it, because not only did it give me a greater understanding of affirmative action but also the motivation to start my own company.
Kevin, what’s your perspective on affirmative action in the United States? Has it helped? Or has it hurt the people it was supposed to help?
Kevin: When it was initiated, affirmative action was needed to help Blacks—finally—get equal opportunities to succeed. Coming out of the civil rights era, it did what it was supposed to do. But it wasn’t intended to continue in perpetuity, so there is no rationale for its continuance. We
each need to be more intentional about recognizing and honoring one another based on the content of character, and not skin color; when we unify—one human to another—we represent God’s design for humanity and are provided a glimpse of the menagerie of diversity that will be harmoniously reflected in His Kingdom.
Mark: Thanks so much for giving us your thoughts on affirmative action. We certainly appreciate your pointed and direct feedback on a discussion that has been debated for many years. I appreciate your wisdom
My final question concerns the Black Lives Matter movement. Many people were very excited about this movement and moved quickly to support it. At the end of the day, though, what is well intended does not always come to a positive fruition. What have you seen regarding this program, and what’s next for it?
Kevin: BLM, as a motto, was something everyone could get behind. But BLM as an organization was a mess. It has now been deemed a fraud. Multiple mansions, very high-income family members, and appreciable contributions to Act Blue (and transgender organizations) are where they spent approximately $1 billion. Multiple states have sued BLM for fraud, and BLM has virtually ignored Black communities; no Black communities received help, support, or were aided in any way after the George Floyd riots. The BLM organization seems to have been established as a mechanism for unfettered graft and defrauding the public, not help!
The BLM founders are proud “revolutionary Marxists”—their proud proclamation—so I guess the fraud and malfeasance is to be expected….
Mark: Kevin, I want to thank you today for taking the time to help our readers get a greater glimpse of race and DEI, which is often presented in a different manner. Have I missed any areas you think we should discuss?
Kevin: To address issues with DEI and have it work in positive ways (in which it’s anticipated), the first thing I would recommend is to read my new book, DEI in 3D. It provides a healthy, cogent, and objective view of DEI and its anticipated outcomes. The second thing I recommend is to completely reject and denounce Karl Marx and Marxism. Marxism is wholly antithetical to morals and values, unity, and a proper and healthy respect for all humanity. Marx and his theory must be canceled! This is not optional; it is mandatory for those who are sincere about workplace (or small group) harmony.
Mark: Kevin, thank you for taking the time to discuss DEI and Biblical alternatives with us. The conversation took longer than we’d thought, but your perspective on the many points we’ve covered has been very valuable. Your wisdom and understanding will help many who were unaware of these potential risks in what is happening, societally. Thanks again!