A director of the Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education at a California college says she was terminated from her position after she questioned the institution’s “woke” anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
Dr. Tabia Lee, a director of the office at De Anza College in Cupertino since August 2021, told the nonprofit Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism that she was fired for asking questions about the college’s anti-racist “orthodoxy.”
In a February essay titled “Journal of Free Black Thought,” Lee explained, “Under the banner of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, in many learning environments a neo-reconstructionist race(ist) orthodoxy has emerged that actively works to suppress and exclude alternative frameworks, methods, ways and means for dealing with American education’s race(ist) problem.”
She accused school officials of retaliating against her after she objected to the college’s land acknowledgments for an Indigenous tribe and declined to join a “socialist network.”
Lee also questioned why the word “Black” was capitalized but not “white” and refused to use the terms “Latinx” and “Filipinx,” arguing that they fuel racism.
“I was working in a California community college, and I noticed that there was a lot of resistance to my even asking questions about anti-racism, policy efforts and language,” Lee stated.
“And I just purely wanted to know what folks meant when they were using those terms. And I encountered a lot of hostility, a lot of resistance to me even asking questions,” she continued.
Lee claimed that the “constant obsession with pronouns” has caused “deep discomfort” for those with gender dysphoria.
“I find that the same toxic ideologies around race ideologies are now being advanced under gender ideologies,” she said.
Lee, who is black, stated that a colleague accused her of “white speaking,” “whitesplaining,” and supporting white supremacy.
On Monday, college officials voted not to re-employ Lee.
According to Lee’s termination letter from the college, obtained by Inside Higher Ed, she was fired because she showed a “persistent inability to demonstrate cooperation in working with colleagues and staff” and an “unwillingness to accept constructive criticism.”
Lee has not filed a lawsuit against the college; however, she told Inside Higher Ed that she has not “ruled it out.”
FAIR attorney Leigh Ann O’Neill stated, “In Dr. Lee’s case specifically, what I think is so important about the work she is doing is she is fostering open inquiry and diverse viewpoints and discussions among the people she is teaching.”
“We are often asked to support lawsuits,” O’Neill added, “so if she chooses to pursue legal action, we will be very eager to support her.”
De Anza College did not reply to a request for comment, the New York Post reported.
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