Black Republican VA Chief Diversity Officer Explains to Liberal VMI Faculty Why 'DEI Is Dead'

The Cadet Regimental Commander gives commands to the Corps of Cadets during parade at the Virginia Military Institute. (Credit: Wiki Commons/Mgirardi)

Ever since the woke mob began insisting that “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) is more important than things like opportunity, qualifications, and merit, we have seen time and again how this concept has all but killed many professions and institutions. One of those institutions is the American military. Once one of the most skilled, elite, and well-prepared fighting forces on the planet, the military has, especially since the beginning of the Biden administration, devolved into a woke, DEI, pronoun-obsessed body. And even at a place steeped in military tradition like Virginia Military Institute, or VMI, there are liberal faculty members who are concerned that the school isn’t becoming more steeped in wokeness. But it is a recent guest speaker at a mandatory annual “inclusive excellence training” for all faculty and staff that has them more concerned, and a bit confused.


Martin D. Brown is the state of Virginia’s Chief diversity officer. Brown, who is a black conservative Republican, was appointed last November by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. He spoke at the training program by starting off with a prayer and actually said the word “Jesus,” which might have tipped off the woke faculty as to what was in store for them. He was very matter-of-fact about his feelings on DEI, apparently sending faculty members reaching for their smelling salts and a safe space. Brown declared:

Let’s take a moment right now to kill that cow. DEI is dead. We’re not going to bring that cow up anymore. It’s dead. It was mandated by the General Assembly, but this governor has a different philosophy of civil discourse, civility, treating — living the golden rule, right?

VMI is like a lot of other institutions in that, there is a push to recruit more female and minority cadets. But Brown, who spoke at the invitation of the academy’s first black superintendent, retired Maj. General Cedric T. Wins, said:

VMI’s in a unique space … You’ve been at the tip of the spear in serving our country in sending warriors to battle, but in a way, you’re at the tip of the spear in this cultural war as well. Generally, when you are focusing on equity, you’re not pursuing merit or excellence or achievement. Not all the time, but you’re looking at equal outcomes.


While this may have sent a murmur through the room full of woke faculty, it was here that it most likely got a bit confusing for them. Brown continued, saying:

It’s proven that institutions achieve more with a more diverse and inclusive workforce. However, equity has become a tradeoff for excellence. Our aim is to expand opportunities but not guarantee equal results.

Brown also spoke about the military placing the focus on the mission. Still more liberal confusion no doubt ensued.

What we’ve done is we’ve made diversity the mission. Wrong mission … The challenge is keeping your eyes on the mission rather than the attendant challenges that we experience trying to complete the mission. And when we focus on those challenges, what happens is the mission is undermined … One of the things we want to focus on is whatever the goal of the organization is, that goal is paramount, and diversity and inclusion supports whatever the goal is.

Add that to what several faculty and staff called portions of Brown’s speech as “right-wing political talking points,” the fact that VMI has changed the name of its diversity office to Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion, and the result, lots of unhappy faculty and staff. One faculty member said, “People felt like it was propaganda.” Another said, “… We were there to be trained to do our jobs better — but instead we were told, ‘DEI is dead.”


And one very telling detail: Several faculty and staff said that not only did they not feel that Brown explained the purpose and intent of his office, but also needed an explanation of why “opportunity” was better than “equity.” Note to Mr. Brown: Anger and confusion are what you get when you try to explain to liberals why opportunity is better than equity.

Brown did say there was one thing he regretted saying. He said that, because he is a government official, he should have used the phrase, “our Creator,” instead of “Jesus.” He added, “I understand that and I respect that. But I am not going to apologize for who I am.” No word yet on whether next year’s “inclusive excellence” mandatory training will be for new transgender cadets.

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