Abolishing DEI in Florida: Of Rufo, Grifting and Fantasy Land

Abolishing DEI in Florida: Of Rufo, Grifting and Fantasy Land

Posted on May 15th, 2023

Today, Christopher Rufo declared to his paid fans that he and Governor Desantis, have ended DEI in Florida and directed his followers to pay to subscribe if they wanted the “inside scoop.” The simple stroke of a pen means nothing as far as changing demographics and the business impact of DEI. In fact, the opposite is true.

What Rufo refuses to acknowledge is that In an important victory for professors, other educators, and students across Florida, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals left in place a preliminary injunction blocking Florida’s HB 7 — also known as the Stop Wrongs Against Our Kids and Employees Act (Stop W.O.K.E. Act) — from being enforced in institutions of higher education, pending appeal. The procedural ruling maintains the preliminary injunction until the Eleventh Circuit issues a decision on the merits. Therefore, this effort is all about drama and grifting, the same thing he accuses “the left” of doing.

It is important that those of us who realize that DEI as critical to the way we think and behave to examine Rufo and his art of the grift. By grifting, I mean making money from a fake expertise.

Rufo, got his start by reading Critical Race Theory and responding to CRT in a rather uncritical and political lens. As an article in The New Yorker pointed out, “ As Rufo eventually came to see it, conservatives engaged in the culture war had been fighting against the same progressive racial ideology since late in the Obama years, without ever being able to describe it effectively.” 

https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-inquiry/how-a-conservative-activist-invented-the-conflict-over-critical-race-theory. But, this lack of critical thhking and expertise exposes the pure political grift that is who Rufo is. How can he be taken seriously when he simply engages in hyperbolic rants?

So, he took it upon himself to provide that language and his crusade against DEI was born. And, his followers and paid subscribers ate it up and continue to do so. He decided that it would be up to him to save America from its browning. The problem of course is that the changing demographics are a fact and no amount of savior complex can do anything about it.

Rufo, saw a political opening and an opportunity to grift and so he pounced. He was a bored journalist who during the pandemic had the time to fill out numerous FOIA requests and simply took from it what he wanted to, wrote on it, spoke on it and claimed it as his own. His writings and interviews suggest that he crowned himself, King Rufo, the leading voice on CRT.

Rufo would appear to be a rather strange choice to crown himself King. Raised by Italian immigrants in Sacramento and educated at Georgetown, Rufo had spent his twenties and early thirties working as a documentary filmmaker, largely overseas, making touristic projects such as “Roughing It: Mongolia,” and “Diamond in the Dunes,” about a joint Uyghur-Han baseball team in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.

In 2015, Rufo began work on a film for PBS that traced the experience of poverty in three American cities, and in the course of filming Rufo became convinced that poverty was not something that could be alleviated with a policy lever but was deeply embedded in “social, familial, even psychological” dynamics, and his politics became more explicitly conservative.

Returning home to Seattle, where his wife worked for Microsoft, Rufo got a small grant from a regional, conservative think tank to report on homelessness, and then ran an unsuccessful campaign for city council, in 2018. His work so outraged Seattle’s homelessness activists that, during his election campaign, someone plastered his photo and home address on utility poles around his neighborhood. When Rufo received the anti-bias documents from the city of Seattle, he knew how to spot political kindling. 


The problem with “King Rufo” is that CRT is not DEI. CRT is taught primarily to law students as a construct in which to do a critical analysis of law. It is not, nor has it even been taught in k-12. Keep in mind that critical studies is an integral part of any law school teaching. CLS is a theory which states that the law is necessarily intertwined with social issues, particularly stating that the law has inherent social biases. Proponents of CLS believe that the law supports the interests of those who create the law.

This https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-inquiry/how-a-conservative-activist-invented-the-conflict-over-critical-race-theory

King Rufo is in his mind, will draft model laws outlawing DEI in all states. 


The problem of curse is that CRT is not DEI and so his argument fails. DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) explores ways that all differences and similarities help organizations utilize all differences. He believes that there is “reverse discrimination.” There is no such thing as “reverse.” It is either discrimination or it is not. EEO excludes none and includes all.

The Governor said “If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination… And that has no place in our public institutions. “ This bill says the whole experiment with DEI is coming to an end in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. Both The Governor and King Rufo provide no evidence to support this claim. They also fail to mention that equity is of process and not outcome.

Both Rufo and The Governor cite The New College commencement as the end of DEI. Except that. 


Rufo has found an accomplice before, during and after the fact in The Governor both of whom are neither interested in the value of DEI nor an open discussion on the topic. They would rather grab headlines and puff their chests. They are in their view, “manly men.” Owning the libs, and big government are their priorities.

I know that there are discussions about DEI that need to be had and should continue. I am willing to have them. However, those discussions should be earnest, and not designed to further drive us apart. They also should not be pure politics as these discussions are. while Florida is home to Disney, fantasy land is not where we we should be. Grifting, politics and changing demographics seem to motivate Rufo with The Governor as his ride or die.

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