Home/Rod Dreher/Blacklists In The Woke Workplace

Blacklists In The Woke Workplace

Matt Difanis, head of the professional standards committee of the National Association of Realtors, tries to put lipstick on a pig of a new policy (Matt Difanis video)

A pastor I know forwarded me this e-mail from someone he knows. I’ve taken identifying details out:

I applied to [a top STEM university] last week. My qualification garnered an immediate response from the [specific] department. But all was halted when they discovered that I did not write a “Diversity” statement. I was stymied as to what that was. I did a little research and found that it is basically an apology for being a white male. I wrote a page worth of equality and being fearfully and wonderfully made, and judge not by the color of their skin. It worked until the actual interview. The entire interview was based on my “racism.”

Nothing about my accomplishments in life. My lack of being woke. Not how would you teach or manage. … I truly doubt I will hear anything further from [this university].

I also spoke with [a physician who teaches at a medical school] and she … made mention of the impact the “diversity” statements are having at [her university]. Her comment was that “they are doing just what they are accusing us of.”

Here we see an example of the pre-totalitarian valuing of loyalty — in this case, to diversity ideology — over competence. In Live Not By Lies, I quote Arendt thus:

“Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with those crackpots and fools whose lack of intellect and creativity is still the best guarantee of their loyalty.”

This university — trust me, if you’re an engineering student, you’d be honored to have this school on your CV — was so excited about this man’s application that it reached out to him. But when he did not say the correct woke things in the interview, which interrogated him about his supposed racism, that was the end of that.

This is the new America. This is soft totalitarianism. He’s not being thrown into prison by the secret police, but he’s not able to get a job in his field, despite his qualifications, because the institution judges him to be ideologically unsound. This particular university is a public one. You think he’s not going to face the same at other universities, both public and private?

And most liberals support this stuff, and except for a brave few, those who don’t are too intimidated to speak out against it.

Here’s another one. The letter is too detailed for me to reprint it here, even with redactions. To summarize, the author is a practicing conservative Protestant who is in leadership at his Midwestern church. He also is a Realtor by trade.

A week ago, the broker/owner of his office called to ask his opinion about starting a new Multiple Listing Service in their local area. Why? The National Association of Realtors has a new ethics code that punishes Realtors for any hate speech or discrimination, not only on the job, but 24 hours, seven days a week. Well, the author of the letter attends a church that publicly dissents from the pro-LGBT line the NAR demands.

The guy’s boss is trying to help him out, but it’s going to be hard, maybe impossible. And if the Realtor is not a member of the National Association of Realtors, it dramatically affects his ability to do his job. The Realtor does not see how he can both affirm the NAR Code Of Ethics and his Church’s constitution, which he has also sworn to uphold.
Here is a churchgoing man who might have to surrender his livelihood rather than affirm what he believes is a lie.
And why? It’s one thing for the NAR to hold its agents to a certain standard in the workplace, but by what right do they have the right to tell those agents what they can do and say in the privacy of their own homes, and in their churches on Sunday morning? Law professor Eugene Volokh says:

The Realtors are a private organization, so this isn’t a First Amendment violation, just as blacklisting of supposedly “un-American” employees in the 1950s wasn’t a First Amendment violation. But it strikes me as potentially quite dangerous, especially given that National Association of Realtors membership appears to be quite important professionally to real estate agents; apparently,

in many parts of the country, NAR membership is required to gain access to the Multiple Listing Service, a searchable online database that sorts available real estate properties by parameters such as square footage, acreage, architectural style and much more. “If I were to lose access to that it would potentially devastate my ability to perform my career duties,” a Realtor commented on NAR’s Facebook page.

One way of thinking about this would be to ask what we’d think of this policy:

REALTORS® must not use speech supportive of unlawful violence, arson, or destruction of property, whether targeting political leaders, police officers, businesses, political organizations, or others.

Would we think that it’s good that private professional organizations are suppressing such speech, on the theory that such speech codes can help give people confidence that the professionals they’re dealing with support law and order? Or would we think that, even if most calls for unlawful violence are improper, there shouldn’t be professional blacklists of people based on their ideological views?

Yeah, they’re McCarthyites, but they’re McCarthyites for the Left, so it’s okay by our media. /sarc

It is incredible to me that this hasn’t raised the roof nationwide. We know what kind of people want to manage your every thought: totalitarians. The fact that this totalitarian prospect of the company owning your soul has not prompted an outcry tells you how far gone we are down a bad road we already are. A group of conservative, religious Realtors better lawyer up and sue.

You’ll recall the point I made about Amazon’s recent decision to start cancelling books it finds politically problematic (like Ryan T. Anderson’s book critical of gender ideology): that the real threat here is not just to Anderson’s ability to sell books, but, given Amazon’s massive power in book retailing, the threat is to the ability of any books on that one’s theme being published. Amazon cancelled Anderson’s, but has not (yet) cancelled a similar one by Abigail Shrier. Why not? Who knows? The thing is, shoot one author, teach a hundred publishers. How likely are you, as a publisher, to consider now publishing a book critical of gender ideology? Sure, Abigail Shrier has sold a massive number of them, so it would appear that there is a market for them. And she hasn’t been cancelled yet. But now that we know that Amazon will cancel these kinds of books, no matter how professionally written, and it will do so without feeling the obligation to alert publishers and writers, and without feeling required to offer an explanation. Therefore, it’s a real risk for a publisher to take a chance on a book that might out of nowhere be yanked from the shelves of America’s largest bookseller by far. If Amazon won’t sell it, it won’t likely be printed.

Given that, given what the NAR is doing, and given what universities are doing, it is long past time for conservatives to settle for a laissez-faire attitude towards running businesses, at least businesses of a certain size. Take universities out of it for a second. Both Amazon and the NAR are private organizations that have the right to govern themselves. A government powerful enough to tell Amazon that it must sell a certain title is powerful enough to tell a Christian bookseller that he has to sell The Satanic Bible. Technically, you don’t have to be a member of the NAR to sell real estate, but practically you do. In both cases, real life doesn’t match real-world power.

Why not let’s start unions? you might say. OK, but notice that the Newspaper Guild didn’t do Donald McNeil Jr. much good when he got on the wrong side of the Woke at The New York Times.

If we don’t get some major reforms in labor law, this woke blacklist is going to find its expression across institutions. Unless you are running a religious, political, or in some other sense an institution driven by a specific mission, why should you enjoy broad rights to hire or fire people based on their willingness to affirm an ethics creed that has little to nothing to do with their ability to do their jobs? Again: why the totalitarian urge? Why on earth does the National Association of Realtors care if on Sunday morning, one of its members gives a church school lesson on what the Bible has to say about human sexuality, and expresses Wrong Thoughts™?

Next time, I want to see the Republican Party led by somebody who doesn’t just tweet and give incendiary speeches, but who also has the focus, competence, and determination to use state power to protect people like the church elder who only wants to make a living doing what he’s always done: sell houses.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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