Home Editorials DEI has become new ‘dog whistle’

DEI has become new ‘dog whistle’

by David W. Marshall
David W. Marshall

<TriceEdneyWire.com> — Despite the wide-ranging opinions and perspectives held by individuals representing different cultures and political persuasions, there is one common dominator that should always connect people of goodwill. Facts are a common dominator that should easily be accepted by everyone, regardless of their backgrounds.

This would be the case if we lived in a perfect world, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Facts are presented daily to the public through credible news reporting and solid journalism, but those facts are easily misconstrued, downplayed, or ignored by the ‘fake news’ label. It is a fact that Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Yet, conspiracy theories surrounding Obama’s place of birth and religion were embraced for politically and culturally motivated reasons. To this day, the fact that Obama is a U.S. citizen born in Hawaii is still rejected by many people. It is a fact that Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States, yet those who embrace the false claims of a stolen election are unwilling to accept him as a legitimate president. With the strategic use of two words, ‘fake news,’ the facts about Obama’s citizenship and the lawful election of Joe Biden can be rejected by those unpersuaded by the truth.

The deadly collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge after a container ship lost power and collided with it has created enormous repercussions for the Baltimore region and the nation. The Port of Baltimore is one of the busiest ports in the country, and it plays a critical role in the local, regional, and national economies. The port’s inaccessibility will be felt throughout the country. It is the largest importer/exporter of vehicles in the U.S., with 800,000 cars moving through the port in 2023. Local and national businesses are collaborating with government authorities and other stakeholders to minimize the impact on the supply chain.

Most importantly, six construction workers are believed to have fallen from the collapsing bridge into the Patapsco River. The bodies of two missing workers have since been recovered, while four are unaccounted for and are presumed dead.

For Baltimore and the region: “This is going to be difficult,” Marty Durbin, U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for policy, told a local TV station. “Shippers are looking to find different destinations for their shipments. If now they have to divert to ports along the Eastern seaboard or on the West Coast, you may see delays or increases in costs just because of the increased trucking costs.”

Undoubtedly, the bridge’s reconstruction funding will face major hurdles in Congress. An influential group of House Republicans has already made it known that they will place strings on any new federal funding to replace the bridge.

As this is a national crisis where the nation’s best interest depends on both parties’ elected officials, we live in an environment where everything becomes a political fight. After taking an aerial tour of the collapse, President Biden stated: “My administration is committed, absolutely committed, to ensuring that the parties responsible for this tragedy pay to repair the damage and be held accountable to the fullest extent the law will allow. I fully intend, as the governor knows, to have the federal government cover the cost of rebuilding this entire bridge, all of it, all of it, as we’ve done in other parts of the country in similar circumstances.”

The Biden administration has approved $60 million in emergency funding to assist in the initial mobilization and debris recovery efforts. The total cost to replace the bridge is unclear, but estimates range from $400 million to as much as $1 billion. Time will tell if Republicans’ efforts result in prudent financial oversight or just become obstruct-and-delay tactics. The response from a small group of House Republicans is not surprising. The surprise is how this unintentional maritime accident is being used as a conservative dog whistle to attack Mayor Brandon Scott of Baltimore. One user on X, formally known as Twitter, called Scott “Baltimore’s DEI mayor” when referring to a video of the mayor speaking about praying for those affected by the deadly collapse and acknowledging the efforts of the first responders. Phil Lyman, a Utah Republican and gubernatorial candidate, included  Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, also Black, in his attack.

“This is what happens when you have governors who prioritize diversity over the well being and security of citizens,” Lyman wrote. What is Phil Lyman talking about? What does diversity have to do with undermining the security of citizens?

Just as we’ve seen with Obama and Biden, the twisting of the truth becomes effective when used for political gain. Now, we are seeing people like Phil Lyman distort the true meaning of diversity and DEI in a new direction. It is a fact that the race of Mayor Brandon Scott and Gov. Wes Moore as Black leaders has nothing to do with the unintended collapse of the bridge. How many people will accept that fact? In a moment of leadership displayed by two elected leaders during a national crisis, DEI has now become a racist dog whistle, detracting from the tragedy of the lost lives and the impact on the economy. This distortion of DEI gives them a reason to reject the authority and power of any Black elected leader.

(David W. Marshall is the founder of the faith-based organization TRB: The Reconciled Body and author of the book God Bless Our Divided America.)

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