MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Countering the Corporate Diversity Backlash

  • 5m
  • Tsedale M. Melaku, Victor Ray
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2023

Corporate diversity is facing a backlash. Target, a company that has carried merchandise celebrating LGBTQ+ pride for over a decade, ordered some stores to remove such products after conservative activists accused the company of sexualizing children and organized a boycott. Anheuser-Busch lost sales in response to a promotion with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, costing Bud Light its spot as America’s bestselling beer. Even Chick-fil-A, perhaps the prototype of corporate conservatism with its opposition to same-sex marriage and policy of closing on Sundays, recently came under attack from conservatives for employing an executive to lead its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Universities are also facing a diversity backlash. The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down race-conscious admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ending race-conscious admissions will likely have ripple effects, as an unclear regulatory environment might discourage organizations from implementing current diversity efforts while spurring some to explicitly exclude Black, Latine, and Indigenous groups.

About the Author

Victor Ray is the F. Wendell Miller Associate Professor in the departments of sociology and criminology and African American Studies at the University of Iowa and the author of On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care (Random House, 2022). Tsedale M. Melaku, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of management at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College (CUNY) and the author of You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer: Black Women and Systemic Gendered Racism (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019).

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  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Countering the Corporate Diversity Backlash