Tucker Carlson Claims DEI Will Lead to Violence

Controversial far-right political commentator and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently went on another rant against Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies. He compared DEI to racist legislation and predicted it might lead to violence if not stopped.

Carlson’s Comments

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Carlson compared DEI initiatives to infamous racist laws, like Jim Crow and the Nuremberg laws. “It’s totally immoral,” he argued. “It’s grotesque.”

Justification

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“The idea that certain people on the basis of immutable characteristics get certain privileges,” he continued, “and other people are hurt on the basis of their immutable characteristics, like, that’s totally incompatible with America.”

All or Nothing

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“It’s gotta be a colorblind meritocracy,” Carlson claimed, “or it can’t keep going because it’s a pluralistic society. There’s no majority of anything that has anything in common.”

Fact Check

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Dozens of respected historians and reporters, including Jeff Fuhrer, Michael J. Sandel, Clifton Mark, and Fabiola Cineas, have all written about the myth of meritocracy. In reality, they explain, the playing field is anything but level, due to structural inequalities like racism and sexism — and also because of external factors like luck.

Dark Warning

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“Also, by the way,” Carlson said, “we’re going to get to violence really soon if this stuff continues.” 

Explanation

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“If you tell people that this group or that group is bad because they’re in that group, because they look a certain way or because their parents looked a certain way, if you tell them that over time, that group’s going to get hurt,” Carlson said.

White Supremacy

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Carlson has frequently attacked DEI initiatives as being racist and has a long history of being against diversity itself. In 2018, for example, GQ reported that “diversity is bad, according to him, because people can only work and live together when they’re the same.”

Racism

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In 2022, the New York Times conducted an extensive survey of Carlson’s broadcasts on Fox News, analyzing more than 1,100 episodes of his show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Nicholas Confessore, a reporter involved in the project, concluded that “Carlson has constructed what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news,” as reported by NPR. 

Dog Whistling

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Carlson’s comments about DEI might not seem racist on the surface. As Confessore explained, the NYT analysis revealed that Carlson frequently uses “code” words and phrases: messaging carefully designed to be fully understood only by his target audience.

Nothing in Common?

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For example, Carlson’s comment that in America, “there’s no majority of anything that has anything in common” could be understood as a nod to his belief in the dangers of diversity. His views on diversity have been described by major outlets like NYT as aligned with white supremacists.

Defending DEI

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Aligned against Carlson are dozens of organizations of educators and experts. In October of this year, for example, Human Rights Watch and more than 30 other organizations sent a letter to Congress urging legislators to remove dozens of anti-DEI provisions from the 2024 Defense Bill.

Speaking Out

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Rather than sparking violence, some of these experts explained, DEI makes institutions fairer, more representative, and stronger. “A military that embraces this country’s diversity and reflects its values of equity and inclusion,” explained David Stacy, a senior member of Human Rights Campaign, “is a more cohesive, better-prepared military,”

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