When Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban jumped to the defense of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives on Thursday, Elon Musk responding by posing a simple question about the NBA team’s roster construction.
Musk has emerged as a leading critic of DEI initiatives, which have exponentially increased in scope and importance following the George Floyd riots in 2020. Major companies have pledged to hire “people of color” and foreigners over white Americans, which resulted in a staggering 94 percent of new corporate jobs going to nonwhites in 2020.
The tech mogul weighed in on the issue once again Wednesday shortly after the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay, writing that “DEI is just another word for racism.” In a follow-up post, Musk stated that “discrimination on the basis of race, which DEI does, is literally the definition of racism.”
Cuban took issue with Musk’s framing and decided to respond with a lengthy X thread of his own. “You may not agree, but I take it as a given that there are people of various races, ethnicities, orientation, etc that are regularly excluded from hiring consideration,” he claimed.
“By extending our hiring search to include them, we can find people that are more qualified. The loss of DEI-Phobic companies is my gain.”
Treating people equally does not mean treating them the same.
I made the mistake for a lot of years thinking it did.
Equity is a core principle of business.
Put your employees in a position to succeed. Recognize their differences and play to their strengths where…
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 3, 2024
Musk replied by asking about the roster construction of the Dallas Mavericks. “Cool, so when should we expect to see a short white/Asian women on the Mavs?” Musk wrote.
Cool, so when should we expect to see a short white/Asian women on the Mavs?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 4, 2024
In follow-up posts, Cuban acknowledged that DEI policies lead to some groups gaining favor over others. “Why should an individual have a better or worse chance of obtaining a position on the basis of their group identity?” asked one X user.
“Because being part of that group can offer a better connection to potential customers/prospects who are part of that same group,” Cuban replied. “Because being part of that group can bring a different perspective that helps the company prosper.”
Because being part of that group can offer a better connection to potential customers/prospects who are part of that same group.
Because being part of that group can bring a different perspective that helps the company prosper.
Because being part of that group may offer a…
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 4, 2024
A recent analysis found that top tech firms such as Google and Meta have slashed their DEI workforces by roughly 40 percent amidst economic instability.