Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Uber suspends DEI exec over “Don’t Call Me Karen” events

Uber has suspended its longtime head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Bo Young Lee, after Black and Hispanic employees complained that an event she ran — titled "Don't Call Me Karen" — was insensitive to people of color.

"Karen," in case you've lived an a cave without WiFi for the past half-decade, is slang for an entitled white woman who often complains to a management and the authorities about Black people and other minorities.

According to The New York Times, "Employees' concerns centered on a pair of events, one last month and another last Wednesday, that were billed as 'diving into the spectrum of the American white woman's experience' and hearing from white women who work at Uber, with a focus on 'the Karen persona.' They were intended to be an 'open and honest conversation about race,' according to the invitation."

Uber's Black and Hispanic employees, however, felt lectured-to on the difficulties experienced by white women. They are 100 percent correct. I don't think it's possible for an event the focuses on the feigned offense of "Karens" to be an "open and honest conversation about race." 

White people — we need to stop feeling butt-hurt over DEI issues. Our country is currently in a weird and dangerous place. Culture clashes over race and LGBTQ rights are front-page news, while governors and state legislatures pass laws intended to take us back to the 1950s, if not the 1850s. 

DEI efforts in businesses, however, are not about us. DEI isn't a pizza. Just because we grant rights to others doesn't mean ours are being taken away. There are plenty of rights for everyone

I agree with the suspension of Ms. Lee. If she doesn't understand why a "Don't Call Me Karen" program run under a DEI umbrella is offensive and wrong, she's not the right person to lead a company's DEI program.