It’s been less than four years since the police killing of George Floyd sparked a racial justice uprising and prompted a mainstream embrace of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in corporate hiring, government, and the classroom.
But the backlash to DEI efforts has been swift. The New York Times published an extensive investigation into the anti-DEI playbook this past weekend.
Matthew Kincaid is the founder and CEO of Overcoming Racism and author of the new book Freedom Teaching: Overcoming Racism in Education to Create Classrooms Where All Students Succeed. He spoke with YES! Senior Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES Presents: Rising Up With Sonali about his book and the attacks on DEI initiatives.
Sonali Kolhatkar joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.