A couple of weeks ago, CES Commissioner Clark Gilbert gave a speech at education week where he discussed BYU’s recent efforts to improve racial equity and belonging. While he said these efforts were important, he cautioned that “mimicking … the world is not the way to do it. The DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) programs in the world are not the way BYU should do it. We should find a gospel-centered approach.”
What is this “gospel-centered approach”? Well, Gilbert didn’t outline that in his speech or anywhere else. But the outlines of that approach seem to be emerging. In May, President Nelson gave a devotional where he emphasized that our identities as “a child of God, a child of the covenant, and a disciple of Jesus Christ” are more important than any other identity or label. Given that this is posted on the Office of Belonging’s homepage (and I’ve heard it reiterated now many times in Church meetings), it seems this is the direction that the Church is taking its DEI efforts.
While I agree that focusing on our identities as children of God is one helpful way to create love and understanding between different groups, I’m troubled by this direction for a several reasons.
First, substantively, I think it’s a poor approach to DEI. As many commenters noted a few weeks ago on my post about BYU removing LGBTQ-affinity group materials from freshman welcome bags, this seems to really just be a version of “All Lives Matter” or “I’m not racist I don’t see race / I’m colorblind.” And while “colorblind” was a popular approach to race in the 80’s and 90’s, more recent research and thinking suggests that it is actually counter-productive. Whatever scriptural or gospel support exists for this version of DEI, there is as much (or more) support for a proactively anti-racist approach (such as the anti-racism course that James Jones put together, which is more firmly rooted in gospel principles and scripture than most Gospel Doctrine lessons or sacrament meeting talks). And, let’s face it: we’ve been taught that we’re all children of God for our whole lives. It’s not making the race problem in our Church or at BYU go away. Instead, BYU has a serious (and potentially worsening) race problem.*
Second, it’s another example of Church authorities believing that their views on any given matter are more valid than experts in relevant fields. There is a sense among many Church members (including at the top) that priesthood leaders using the power of discernment can be right about things they know nothing about. Elder Packer was pretty notorious for hating on intellectuals and positing himself as someone who by virtue of the spirit could be right about anything–arguing that “the mantle is far, far [yes, he used two fars] than the intellect”. President Oaks likewise believes that all of the thoughts that enter his mind come straight from the Lord, and has cautioned against listening to secular experts. So much for “seek[ing] diligently … words of wisdom … out of the best books.”
Third, and most importantly, I’m troubled that this direction is putting prophetic imprimatur on what is actually just a secular idea. And not just any secular idea–a conservative secular idea. Rather than allowing Church members and BYU students / administrators to explore and debate different approaches to DEI on their merits, Gilbert and Nelson have now armed LDS conservatives with the ability to fire back at progressive anti-racist proponents with the argument that anti-racism is inconsistent with “gospel principles”. This is the same thing we’ve seen played out with patriarchy and other conservative principles where old, white, conservative men repackage their political ideologies as God’s will. It stifles fruitful discussions and progress. It actually does more harm than good. I’m sick of it.
- What do you make of Gilbert’s comments about DEI at BYU?
- What do you think would be a “gospel-centered” approach to DEI?
- Do you agree or disagree that the approach outlined by Nelson and the Office of Belonging tracks conservative ideologies, or do you think it’s uniquely gospel-inspired?
- Do you have other examples of Church leaders taking secular ideas and stamping a gospel label on them? Are you concerned that this will stifle productive discussion or am I over-thinking this?
*Not the focus of this post, but Nelson places “children of the covenant” as the second most important component of our identities (beating out “disciple of Jesus Christ”!). This is particularly hurtful to LGBTQ folks who will not be able to make temple covenants.
The ancient apostles gave us a gospel-centric approach during the last supper. When Jesus said one of them would betray Him, they asked “Lord, is it I?” To me this is the measure of discipleship. (And I admit I fall short.)
When an individual perceives racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other form of exclusion, the natural instinct is typically defensiveness and dismissiveness. If we are going to “put off the natural man,” we should instead ask “is it I,” creating an opening for learning, change, and healing. DEI is fundamentally about learning from and validating the experiences of the marginalized, while also discovering and correcting our own often unintentional role in hurting or holding back others.
Elisa, thank you for your thoughts on this matter. I think it’s important we keep talking about it. I followed your embedded link and went to the Office of Belonging website and took time to read the Oaks/Gilbert’s Stand Fast with Love in Proclaiming Truth. It concerns me.
I don’t how we are going to overcome the problem of racism or prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community with the platitudes and proof texting I read. There is nothing of substance in their talk given at Ensign College. The message I get is ‘tough love is the answer,’ and I can’t sign on to any promoted virtues of a tough love approach–it feels to me like a cheap way out for the church to take. Oaks and Gilbert warn us against being “unduly influenced” by voices that “polarize and sow resentment.” Are they talking about Elder Holland when he attacked Matt Easton by name to BYU faculty and staff? Calling Matt selfish for expressing his sexual identify and seeking to silence the queer community at BYU? I’m a little confused here. Or are those actions okay as long as I get a little weepy at the end and gaslight my love and heartbreak that the queer community has to be, well, so queer and loud about it?
What alarms me the most is we see Oaks and Gilbert in this address promote the bifurcation of the idea that loving God justifies a qualified love of your neighbor. There is a dichotomy here, a theological contradiction they are side stepping. And so what we don’t get in any of these speeches is thoughtful theology and therefore no valid spiritual insight and guidance. It’s more sermonizing. Endless sermonizing and positioning. A real effort at theology would wrestle harder with these questions, would confess we don’t have all of the answers, but we are working hard on gaining real direction and meaningful direction, and therefore would ease off on such displayed hubris while erring on the side of taking input from experts in these matters, as you suggest in the OP. And I think we would also see the church affording the gay member community a wider birth when it comes to gay affectionate and relational behavior. Because all I see are more Happily Married White Men sermonizing.
All the while, we see the lack of real instruction on these matter manifest themselves most clearly at BYU. What is the product of sermonizing in the absence of a real plan and program to combat racism and prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community? The women’s volleyball incident is one example, but perhaps more concerning is the way so many students and members have responded to it, questioning the validity of the Duke player’s claims. Even Joel Campbell of the BYU journalism department was enlisted or volunteered to play the ‘BYU is the real the victim here’ card in a DesNews op-ed. And I think its a valid assertion to claim the queer community at BYU has been left even more unprotected by the university than ever in recent times. It’s appalling to me.
@BigSky, yes, the Gilbert / Oaks approach is a whole can of worms itself. I should address that more at some point – thanks for raising it.
Elisa has hit the nail squarely on the head here. The answer to BYU’s racial discrimination problem is really very simple. The Church should come out and condemn its prior race-based priesthood exclusion policy. The Church should say it was wrong, it apologizes, and it is profoundly sorry. Until this happens, the Church will continue to look like it has all the compassion and depth of feeling of a Soviet-era farm tractor.
Agree with JCS that until that important step of an apology happens, nothing will really change, but it is not the answer or the solution, merely the first step. As with alcoholism, the first step is admitting you have a problem. The Church (or its leaders?) are still too set on the idea that they are the victims here.
Another disturbing facet of Gilbert/Oaks utter incompetence on this topic and tone deaf “not the world’s way” (which then apparently just means, nothing that would make conservatives and white supremacists uncomfortable, nothing that actually does anything productive to address the problematic attitudes of members, most of which originated in either flawed leaders’ rhetoric or flawed scriptural ideas which are basically the same thing, just older). Slaveholders 100% used the Bible to justify slavery, and they too would have seen abolition as woke tosh by godless secularists (if these specific terms had existed back then). They also thought they were the more righteous people. Guess what? They weren’t. When you put people in charge of the moral decision making who themselves are the worst justifiers of terrible morality, well, that’s how you get this kind of garbage in 2022.
To me it looks like the leadership is struggling with the very difficult problem of dealing with how our our current political polarization affects how the membership of the church understands direction from leadership.
Unfortunately, issues involving race and LGBTQ have become very enmeshed in the US political conflicts. Our majority conservative American membership is wrapped up in the political ideas that are dominant in conservative politics. A serious part of this issue is the danger of “evil” woke politics, with care towards minorities (particularly blacks)and LGBTQ people being seen as part of that woke danger.
A strong narrative in conservative politics is the color blind narrative. I believed in that until I went through my own political reckoning and change and listened to how black folks have different experiences. We need to see their individual needs caused by their trauma due to racism historically and suffered by their families, as well as current experiences others do not experience. Conservatives want to believe there’s no current racism and that treating people in a color blind way would be adequate. Unfortunately, even if there were no racism today, black older people actually experienced Jim Crow laws, and swimming pools, beaches, and parks being closed entirely in the south to keep blacks out when Jim Crow laws were overturned.
With these different experiences, treating blacks like their experiences are the same as whites, will not work. Yet if church leadership tries to lead the church away from this colorblind direction they are faced with a majority of the membership as misunderstanding the leader’s actions as being woke and political. It was this sort of backfire that resulted in Elder Holland’s remarks that have sent BYU back into a more conservative track.
Obviously, the leaders themselves may agree with the color blind ideas. Even if they do not, it is a difficult concept to convey to people who are wrapped up in politics that teach the opposite. I pray for our leaders to be able to help our membership to become more accepting of people that do not fit in well with the majority membership.
The Church is always 15-30 years behind on these kind of things but the Church does indeed change with the world. Even Elder Holland admitted this recently (remember that video?). So you do the math and figure out when we’ll see policies that are more effective.
For example, gay marriage was basically legalized in the US in 2015 so I’d expect to see some kind of real change within the Church between 2030 -2045. See how this works? The CRT movement began in the mid-70s but I’d argue that it didn’t really get going until more recently. So we might have 10-20 years until we see the Church really address it.
Really good post, Ellisa. I share your concerns. As several have already noted, the church needs to apologize in order to begin with a clean slate. I saw the speech and when I did, I was struck exactly the same way you were. My first thought was, “Oh. Gilbert is watering down the whole idea of the DEI by invoking the ‘us vs. the world’ dichotomy even though it’s folks ‘in the world’ who know a lot more about diversity and inclusion than the LDS Church does.”
Of course, Gilbert’s speech was simply one speech act in a long, long line of them designed actually to erase others’ identity. One of the quite prominent threads in Mormon language regarding the “other”, whether we’re talking about gay or trans identity, marginalized racial or ethnic groups or childless members, is the rhetoric of erasure. It goes something like this: “Oh, you’re gay? Well, you’ll be ‘cured’ in the Mormon afterlife, no worries”. And there is similar language in the B of M itself (and in the minds of many older Mormons) that equates righteousness with whiteness, one implication of which is that the most righteous people in the afterlife (i.e. the celestial kingdom) will be white. So it goes as well with single people, especially single women: “Oh, you’ll have a husband and millions of children in the afterlife”. When Mormonism confronts difference, it doesn’t try to understand it or empathize with it; it instead tries to erase it (See Bednar’s infamous remark, “there are no homosexual members of this church”). This is quite consistent across Mormonism’s history and I think it’s pretty evident in Gilbert’s remarks. No matter that he tries to emphasize the whole “child of god” identity over others; the fact is, the other components of one’s identity matter more in this context precisely because Mormonism has tried so hard to erase those components.
And Angela is right that the church also often falls back on the whole “we’re the victim here” kind of thing. It’s the confusing and crazy “world” that talks about identity in sophisticated, empathetic and ethical ways, but you’d think it’s the church doing that given the massive persecution complex it possesses. The DEI office will end up doing far more harm than good, at least as long as purposefully obtuse asshats like Gilbert are in charge.
“A strong narrative in conservative politics is the color blind narrative. I believed in that until I went through my own political reckoning and change and listened to how black folks have different experiences.”
@lws329 I would be so interested to hear what triggered or led to your political reckoning, and more about what helped you to see things differently.
Elisa, thank you ,thank you ,thank you for this post!
There’s a line, “Not about us without us “
The line points to an important concept in policy formation—input from all stakeholders is crucial. When we are creating policy regarding marginalized groups, people with disabilities, minorities, LGBTQ, women, etc., it is crucial that those groups have a strong voice in the creation of all policies that affect them. Any policy that is created without this input is likely to fall short of any goals of helping groups that are affected by them.
It has been said before but I think it should be said again. The problem with “color blind” rhetoric is that it sweeps racism, prejudice, and simple unfairness under the rug. Racism exists; it’s a fact. And you can’t remedy it or do anything about it at all if you can’t talk about it or see it because you’re “colorblind”.
If the only label we can use “child of god” then we can’t love our trans / queer / gay brothers and sisters because they do not exist in the language. We can’t apologize for past wrongs like the priesthood / temple ban because we are blind to its faults. We can’t make wrong things into right things by denying they exist.
The fruits of the BYU approach (mostly just denying there is a problem). This is not a light shining for the world to see. It’s an embarrassment.
When I saw the title I thought this was going to be a blog about the Mormon version of Opus Dei (the Catholic group).
@lily, total clickbait. Guilty as charged.
Lily, me too!
Somewhat related in regards to the church’s institutionalized homophobia-
has anyone read the church’s amici curiae brief submitted in June, on the “303 Crestive LLC v. Elenis” case before the US Supreme Court?
Click to access 20220602111907210_21-476tsacTheChurchOfJesusChristOfLatterDaySaints.pdf
Unless I missed something, this case and the church’s position on it totally slipped from the public eye, and demonstrates further the church’s ‘religious freedom’ stance as merely code for 2slgbtq+ discrimination.
The case’s petitioner is/was a prospective- wedding web-designer looking to sell their (prospective) services to heterosexual couples only- but would run afoul of Colorado’s Anti Discrimination Act (CADA)
Ignoring its petitioners’ lack of standing, the church sees CADA as a threat to Religious Freedom, and downplays 2SLGBTQ+ couples’ right to the same full slate of goods & services that are offered in the common marketplace to other citizens.
It’s the same old pattern we’ve seen before of the church trying to maximize its own interests at others’ expense. The church is effectively declaring 2SLGBTQ+ protections as somehow less legitimate than similar kinds of protections like those dealing with Race, Nationality, Religious Affiliation, etc.
I’d be curious to know though if the church’s stance on racial discrimination by businesses, on account of religious convictions, was not always what it is currently.
(Not American feel free to correct me on the technicalities)
Is there a website solely dedicated to keeping track of the church’s legal/political advocacy and suites worldwide?
@CanadianDude, thanks for the tip. More tithing dollars going to fund Kirton McConkie amicus briefs promoting discrimination. I’m not aware of a site that tracks this but it’s a good idea!
Gotta love when churches lionize bigots as heroes:
“Lorie Smith occupies, or should occupy, a special place in our public discourse—a genuine religious dissident. See Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 226 (1972) (“Even their idiosyncratic separateness exemplifies the diversity we profess to admire and encourage.”). With malice toward no one, she is bravely defying strong popular opinion to remain true to her conscience. In that, she joins an honorable tradition of religious dissent—a tradition stretching back to the Greek tragedy of Antigone. That same tradition includes a biblical account of three men who would not bow to the king’s image. See Daniel 3:18 (KJV). Colorado does
not threaten to hurl Smith into a “burning fiery furnace.” Id. But the State does seek to compel her and her business to produce messages that violate her conscience and to censor her religious speech. And that the Constitution forbids.”
Yep, I agree with the post and the comments. My proposed solution, replace Clark Gilbert with Steve Young. Or at least put Steve Young in charge of the office of belonging. Steve has more BYU street cred than anyone on Earth and he’s got a really great perspective on the gospel and what it means to love one another. I don’t have his book “The Law of Love” with me so I can’t quote it directly, but I’ll paraphrase a few of the main ideas.
He says- God’s law of Love is to accept people where they are and love them without expecting anything in return. You don’t love people to change their behavior, you don’t love them back on the path you think they should be on, you just love them. Period.
I have never heard that idea taught at church. But reading that made so much sense to me. It was like a weight was lifted and it made it so much simpler and easier to love people. Because I have always been taught the idea of tough love, that love is wanting what’s best for people and doing your part to help them- but I always thought, “How do I know what’s best for people? That’s so complicated and such a responsibility.” It turns out that if you have an agenda when you’re loving people, you’re doing it wrong.
So finally learning that the real way to do it is to just accept and love people as they are is so freeing. And it makes so much sense. Steve Young would bring that approach to BYU. I don’t think I’m being blasphemous when I say I think Jesus would also bring that approach to BYU. I think it’s an approach that we can all bring.
I don’t believe that white liberals are anti racists. There is NO white supremacy in modern U.S. culture. If you have the sympathy and moral or financial support of the media, the mainline churches, the entertainment world, the corporate CEOs, the universities, and much of the political class, you are not a “marginalized group.” I don’t believe it takes any courage of fortitude to be against racism today. You can actually enrich yourself quite handsomely.
Mark L is here to school us all on stuff he clearly isn’t an expert on. Seems like he’d be right at home in the CES system. Sign him up!
I loved John Charity Springs description of the church as having all the compassion of a Soviet era tractor. I don’t give out many “likes” but he earned one today for pointing out that until the church apologizes for the ban on temple and priesthood for blacks, that they cannot solve the problem of racism. They cannot even get started.
I was taught in primary that the first step of repentance is to recognize the sin as sin. Well, the church isn’t there yet as far as race relations go. They are still excusing the blatant racism in the ban on temple and priesthood for blacks as God’s will. They are blaming it on God. Until they can come out and see that as nothing but racism, never ever from God, they can’t even start on solving the problem of racism in the church. They haven’t even started to change because they refuse to accept that the racism was racism, not something God wanted.
See, I was taught that blacks were children of God, but in the very same sentence that they were also less valiant in the pre-existence. So, they were children of God, but still not as good as us white and delightsome children of God. So, somehow, it doesn’t sound to me like enough has changed. Just teaching that everyone is a child of God isn’t going to cut it, because that can be taught right along with racism, sexism, and homophobia. See, men and women are both children of God, but God designed men and women to be different, so we don’t even begin to need to look at how the church treats women as second class. It is all God’s fault. God did it. We don’t need to love our gay brothers and sisters as just as worthy of love and companionship in this life because they are choosing to sin. So, we are perfectly within our religious rights to refuse to do business with *those people*. God said they are sinning, so we don’t have to change how we treat them.
As long as we as a religion continue to blame on God our own prejudice, we will never solve the problem of prejudice in our religion because we can’t repent and repentance is just a change of heart. We can’t have a change of heart while claiming we are just doing God’s will.
“I’d be curious to know though if the church’s stance on racial discrimination by businesses, on account of religious convictions, was not always what it is currently.”
I don’t have a precise answer to that to the extent of showing amicus briefs or official statements of church policy. But I think it is pretty well documented that certain church leaders, and Ezra T Bensen in particular, believed that the civil rights movement was part of a communist plot.
If I remember correctly from David O McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, even McKay, who was relatively liberal compared to the other leaders, was opposed to proposed laws that enforced desegregation in private businesses. He said something to the effect of “I don’t know how the government would be able to come into a private business and tell them who they can or cannot serve”. But my understanding is that was expressed privately and was not an official church position.
I don’t think you are likely to hear any such thing from the Q15 today, publicly or otherwise. The church has accepted, perhaps even embraced, the idea that the government can limit discrimination in public businesses.
Wouldn’t the church say that it *has* apologized for the priesthood ban by writing the Blacks and Priesthood gospel topics essay? “Men of their time,” etc., and that the leaders of today’s church disavow all former theories and explanations for the ban.
I’m not saying everything is well and good. Just that they took a step with that essay that I dearly wish they would take with other topics.
Ruth, you have a point that some people might see that essay as admitting the doctrine to withhold priesthood from blacks was due to racial prejudice. However, it was not announced to the world and kind of hidden away where only us internet Mormons would be aware of it. Sort of like muttering under your breath that you are sorry you got caught. It sounded more like the church blaming Brigham Young and excusing itself from any real blame than taking responsibility for any damage done, let alone actively trying to undo any damage.
The leaders act like they are trying to maintain prophetic infallibility, at the same time they admit to being fallible. It just isn’t an apology to try to pretend infallibility. When you admit a mistake, you have to admit a mistake, not pretend it was exactly what God told you to do. They are not quite willing to say that Brigham Young and every church president after him until 1978 was wrong, while they claimed to be inspired prophets who have Jesus over for supper once a week. Because then what happens to their own claim to be inspired prophets who have Jesus over for supper once a week? If Brigham Young was wrong about something he insisted came from God, then why should I believe RMN when he says something is inspired and I should obey him?
The first step isn’t even the needed humble and sincere apology. The first step is drop the arrogance of infallibility. What if RMN instead of saying obey me because God said, told us all to pray about what he says and if God tells us what he told RMN, then obey God. If RMN took that approach, then he could say, Brigham Young was wrong about what he thought God said and that is why each member of the church needs to learn how to pray and then trust their own conscience instead of blindly trusting any human being. Then he could even quote BY as saying that his greatest fear was that members of the church would blindly follow him. Then he could apologize for his own part in ever believing that kind of racist crap, and then ask black members what they need from him and the church.
Fwiw I do not read the essay as apologizing for the ban.
The “men of their time” referred to various *explanations* for the ban that were given that have been disavowed (ie, we’ve disavowed that blacks were not valiant in the pre-existence, etc). But not the fact of the ban itself.
The party line remains that the ban came from God, the reversal came from God, and “we have no idea the reasons why but the reasons that were given were incorrect.”
The “Gospel-Centered Approach”:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.
I’ve long thought how do we know if God planned for the CoJCOLDS members to judge others then stress obedience and repentance to those unlike us vs teaching us to love and not judge those different from us?
It seems there are several examples of Jesus doing the opposite of the religious leaders of his day and reaching out to those deemed unworthy and unfit.
In other words, how do we know that we are to teach them? It could very well be that they are here to teach us.
Also. I find it laughable that they are trying to tell people not to “ label” themselves certain ways, such as the BYU commencement speaker. Church leaders and church culture have long been in the business of cramming everyone into a cookie cutter mold—RM, priesthood holder, homemaker, etc. and then shaming those who don’t fit the mold. For example, when people explain why they aren’t married because they are LGBT, then suddenly we try to shut them down and close our ears.
A few comments have hit on this, but yes, the idea of “All lives matter / we are all Children of God” is problematic because in the Church, it is simply not the case that all lives matter equally. White heteronormative priesthood-honoring sealed males are the gold standard, and everyone else is just trying to become as close to that as they can someday. (Women can’t become male but we can become part of our husband and “share” in his priesthood in the new and everlasting covenant or whatever.). Interestingly, this actually dates all the way back to greek philosophy that said that women were just deformed men and the ideal to aspire to is maleness. See, yet another secular idea that we’ve slapped a theological label onto.
It’s also problematic because our identities and our labels matter. That I’m a woman matters. I experience the world in specific ways because I am a woman. Black people’s blackness matters, and they experience the world in specific ways because of their blackness. Sexual orientation matters, and the way we experience the world varies based on our sexual orientation. Etc. etc. for other “labels.”
This isn’t a problem, this is a solution. If we are to have perfect love and empathy and a perfect understanding of God, we need to understand God from all angles. Why would we expect the Queerness of God to be revealed to old white men? Why would we expect to see the Blackness of God revealed to old white men? Why would we expect the Femaleness of God to be revealed to old white men? That makes no sense. Those aspects of God are being revealed through the lived experiences of the people with those “labels.” They aren’t unimportant. They are deeply meaningful.
I remember in college attending occasionally a ward in a predominantly black area of Washington D.C. Many were recent African immigrants and I loved to see their African dress (no white shirts and ties) and hear them sing the hymns and bring their own identities to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It certainly wasn’t the correlated version–it was a more expansive version. It didn’t distort or pervert the gospel, it expanded it.
Are we all children of God? Yes. But some of us are queer children of God. Some of us are black children of God. Some of us are differently-abled children of God. If we really believe that’s by design, how will we learn what God or the universe is trying to teach us if we erase those identities?
@Mark L and other racism deniers: Thasunda Duckett who is the President and CEO of TIAA, was interviewed and mentioned how people would, to her face, question her achievements, saying she probably got where she was because of reverse discrimination, that she was promoted only because she was a black woman.
After George Floyd, my company hosted a webinar where a few black colleagues shared what they were feeling. One NY-based black executive who is always well dressed, recounted being stopped on the streets by a random white guy who wondered if he was on his way to court, because clearly black men only wear suits when they’re on trial for something.
I used to think my company was diverse, but a few years back it doubled down on its DEI initiatives. We don’t have hiring quotas; we’re told to pick the best candidate. But we have regular training reminding us to check our biases with concrete tips on how to do that. A few years later, I walked down the hall, noted how diverse my department had become, and realized how not diverse we had been before the DEI initiative