Jordan Peterson has jumped on the bandwagon criticizing United Airlines for its DEI initiatives and called for mass resignations from United’s top leaders.
Jordan Peterson Criticizes United Airlines Over DEI
Earlier this week I wrote about the melodrama of Congressman Dan Crenshaw, who is “threatening” to support a passenger bill of rights after he claimed that a United Airlines ticket agent in Houston tried to grab his dog. There’s a lot more to the story going on.
Veiled in Crenshaw’s criticism of United was an attack on United’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, with particular blame directed at CEO Scott Kirby. This has been echoed by many, with the charge levied that standards are lowered to meet diversity quotas.
Now Jordan Peterson, the famous Canadian clinical psychologist, has asked if 50% of the UA C-Suite will resign so the positions “they unfairly employed their privilege to obtain” can be reassigned to women and people of color.
Will 50% of the UA C-suite also immediately resign so the positions they unfairly employed their privilege to obtain may be likewise occupied by women and POC (oh despicable phrase)? https://t.co/YJj8WRsVak
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) April 7, 2021
Peterson doesn’t talk about travel very much, but has praised United in the past for quickly reuniting him with his lost laptop:
I think we all get the point that Peterson is making (hire based on merit, not any other factor). There are indeed troubling aspects of DEI, though I think far too many superficially denigrate DEI as pure evil when such initiatives are often innocuous (for example, in targeting our tendency to show implicit bias).
But Peterson is guilty of a logical fallacy (straw man) in suggesting that members of the predominantly white C-Suite at United resign in recognition of their “unfair” employment based upon “privilege.” No one is making that argument. No one is saying that white pilots should resign so black and brown pilots can take over. Nor is anyone saying that pilots gained their employment through privilege rather than merit.
I look intently for any sign that standards are lowed for so-called “DEI” candidates. Thus far, I have not seen any. That means that these folks who are hired are held to the same standards as all other candidates. If every candidate is held to the same performance standard, the outrage over DEI becomes less acute.
My concern with DEI is that it often fails to account for the fact that not all who share a skin color share economic or social disadvantage. Everyone is ultimately held to the same standards in terms of job performance, but awarding someone an extra point or second interview purely for their skin color or ethnic background without taking into account their life circumstances strikes me as a willfully ignorant way to pursue equality.
Jordan Peterson has joined the chorus attacking United Airlines for its DEI initiatives. While there does exist legitimate concern over aspects of DEI that place race on an unhelpful and superficial pedestal, I do not find it particularly constructive to mock it in the way Peterson has. That will not lead to a colorblind society either…