Unresolved debates about the past frame choices about who owns the future. America has arrived, once again, at another momentous inflection point to try and resolve some of the most contentious issues the nation has faced and largely failed to resolve — the narrative of American history and culture, the persistence of systemic racism, and continuing debates over women’s empowerment, personal freedom and sexual orientation.

In recent years, DEI has emerged as a distinctive field in governance and public policy that provides a key set of performance measures for economic and social progress. While originally separate from environmental sustainability, they now share common values to applying human capital towards resolving society’s most vexing inter-generational challenges, including access to health care, educational opportunities, and protection from toxic exposures and climate change.

In its present form, DEI represents a set of modest efforts for legal and institutional reforms but nothing close to a mass movement capable of resolving the widening crevices of American society and politics. Some major unresolved challenges for DEI proponents and all citizens and civil society institutions include:

  • Will leaders across the spectrum of American institutions collaborate with the commitment, urgency and scale necessary to preserve the American democratic experiment in the coming decades?
  • Do companies operating in America believe that a dysfunctional democracy and growing societal disharmony can provide clear and consistent rules necessary for their economic success? Can they become engines of egalitarianism and more equitable social mobility rather than of inequality?
  • Can public policy develop remedies to systemic racism that have historically impeded access to educational opportunity, environmental protection, health care, unbiased law enforcement, living wages and resource allocations for lower-income populations?
  • Can white Americans be reassured that their constitutional freedoms will be preserved even as their relative size and influence diminishes in a growing multiracial, multigender society?

Read the full article about reforms in diversity, equity, and inclusion by Terry F. Yosie at GreenBiz.