The tech mogul Elon Musk has been making controversial statements about diversity, equity, and inclusion for months. His latest remarks double down on previous criticisms while revealing gaps in his understanding.

In a painfully uncomfortable interview with Don Lemon, Musk argued that society must move beyond discussing racism, calling it “divisive and corrosive.” He dismissed questions about his lack of evidence for claims linking diversity programs to reduced standards and airplane accidents.

Musk Claims All Countries Have Histories of Slavery and Racism

During an interview on CNN, Elon Musk claimed that all nations have histories of racism and slavery.

Source: Mary Evans

This assertion drew criticism, as Musk seemed to imply that the severity and impacts of slavery and racism are uniform across countries and periods.

Musk’s Statement Lacks Nuance and Historical Accuracy

Elon Musk’s assertion that “everyone was a slave” lacks nuance and historical accuracy. While forms of indentured slavery existed in many societies, the scale and scope of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and American chattel slavery were unprecedented.

Source: Justin Sullivan

Millions of Africans were forcibly removed from their homelands, shipped across the Atlantic, and subjected to a system of hereditary race-based slavery.

Lemon Counters That Racism Is Still Rampant in Society

Lemon argued that racism remains prevalent in many areas of society. He pointed out that racial minorities still face discrimination and unequal treatment in the workplace, education system, and criminal justice system.

Source: John Englart

Lemon noted that minorities continue to face barriers to career advancement and equal pay. According to recent studies, African Americans with college degrees have much higher unemployment rates and lower incomes than their white counterparts.

Musk Doubles Down on DEI Criticism

Musk’s interview with Don Lemon showcased his continued disparagement of diversity and inclusion efforts.

Source: Quora

When asked direct questions about evidence to support his claims that DEI programs lower standards, Musk dodged the issue.

Diversity and Inclusion Aims to Address Systemic Discrimination

While Musk believes people should be evaluated solely based on their qualifications, diversity and inclusion (DEI) programs aim to remedy systemic discrimination that prevents minorities from being assessed fairly based on their talents and skills.

Source: Gillings School of Global Public Health

DEI initiatives aim to dismantle racist and biased company cultures, address lack of opportunity and differential treatment, and make the workplace inclusive and equitable for all.

Musk’s Apparent Gripe With Ongoing Discussion of Racial Inequity

Elon Musk appears to have an issue with what he perceives as an endless discussion of racial inequities. To him, “Society blames a lot of things on racism. Trying to make everything a race issue is divisive and corrosive to society.”

Source: Picpedia

However, creating diversity, equity, and inclusion programs was meant to combat the fact that people of diverse backgrounds are not hired based solely on their skills and talent, which shows his statement is misguided.

Musk Struggles to Define Terms Like “Woke

Musk had trouble defining terms like “woke” during his interview despite using them frequently in public comments.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

When Lemon asked directly what “woke” means, Musk said, “‘Woke’ is a term that refers to a particular far-left ideology that misconstrues well-meaning concepts like equality and justice.”

Dismissal of Racial Discrimination Lawsuits

Musk also dismissed recent racial discrimination lawsuits against his electric vehicle company, Tesla Motors, which last month settled for an undisclosed amount following a $3.2 million judgment in court to a former Black Tesla elevator operator.

Source: Needpix

“If there’s over 20,000 people in one building, is anyone gonna behave perfectly? No,” Musk admitted. “Did I see any situations that I thought were improper? I did not.”

Musk Fails to Answer Direct Questions on Evidence Behind Claims

Elon Musk has made several controversial claims regarding diversity and inclusion (DEI) programs, but in a recent interview, he failed to provide evidence to support them.

Source: LinkedIn

When questioned about his suggestion that DEI lowered standards in sectors like medicine, Musk stated that his original comment was hypothetical rather than factual.

Skills and Integrity Should Be the Only Metrics

When asked whether he believes in diversity and inclusion, Musk said people should be treated “according to their skills and integrity, and that’s it.”

Source: LinkedIn

This argument is often made by those who oppose DEI programs. However, the creation of DEI initiatives addressed that people from diverse backgrounds are not always hired based solely on their skills and talent.

Musk Walks Back Boeing Speculation After Being Confronted

Musk dismissed his previous claims that diversity and inclusion programs were linked to the malfunction of the midflight Boeing 737.

Source: Flickr/Guerric

When questioned directly by Don Lemon, Musk stated that his comments on social media, suggesting as much as possible, were hypothetical rather than factual.

Musk’s Boeing Claims On Social Media

“It will take an airplane crashing and killing hundreds of people for them to change this crazy policy of DIE,” Musk wrote, misspelling DEI.

Source: Stephen Brashear

In a separate response, Musk wrote, “Do you want to fly in an airplane where they prioritized DEI hiring over your safety? That is happening.”

The Irony of Musk’s Claims on DEI Programs

DEI initiatives aim to address the systemic barriers that prevent underrepresented groups from gaining equal access and opportunity in the workplace based solely on their skills and talent.

Source: Unsplash/wocintechchat

DEI programs work to remedy inequities so that the most qualified candidates have a fair chance, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or background.

DEI Initiatives Are in Place for The Betterment of Society

DEI initiatives aim for a fair and just society where people are judged based on their character and skills, not their gender, ethnicity, or background.

Source: Unsplash/Ryoji Iwata

Dismissing DEI as unnecessary or counterproductive is misguided and will only maintain the status quo. Achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion is vital to enabling equal access and opportunity regardless of differences.