John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog ponders the future of controversial diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that corporate America is backpedaling away from “diversity”:

White-collar companies that once championed programs to recruit diverse employees are now tiptoeing away from them.

PricewaterhouseCoopers and JPMorgan Chase are among those that recently removed or altered descriptions of their programs for underrepresented students. The shift came after an “anti-woke” movement took aim at U.S. companies and a Supreme Court decision overturned affirmative action in college admissions. …

… The trend away from DEI is mostly quiet:

Companies have made the changes quietly, often by playing down terminology such as “DEI” and opening up programs once reserved for diverse applicants to everyone. Many stopped referencing their DEI programs in annual reports altogether, The Wall Street Journal has reported. …

… Why are companies changing course? The … Journal article rather obtusely fails to note the real reason: DEI is illegal.

The two main areas in which race discrimination is illegal are education and employment. While there are some nuances, the basic principles are the same. While race discrimination in both spheres has theoretically been illegal for a long time, there was a gentlemen’s agreement that the *right* kind of race discrimination is not just acceptable, but admirable. “Affirmative action” goes back to the 1970s. No one was ever able to explain how affirmative action, or its more recent incarnation DEI, could be reconciled with the race neutrality that the law requires.

The decisive break came when the Supreme Court decided the North Carolina and Harvard cases. That decision held that the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act mean what they say: race discrimination is illegal. Those cases arose in the education context, but every company in America realized that the same principle will soon be applied to employment.