Why We Should Strive to Achieve What We Cannot See

A call to action to reject DEI rhetoric that tells us otherwise

Lisa Lau
7 min readMar 31


Photo: istock/wildpixel

I listened to an online lecture, whereby the speaker passionately advocated for more diversity and representation in the workplace. More diversity in the Board Room; more diversity in the C suite; more diversity in high places.

In making a case for quotas, she proclaimed, “Because you cannot aspire to be what you cannot see!”

To that, she received an affirming round of applause. Meanwhile, I hoped that there was no child or young person in the audience listening to her words of myopic wisdom.

I imagined JFK rising from his grave, grabbing the speaker’s microphone, and belting: “But we chose to go to the moon! We chose to go to the moon!”

The late President gestured to the audience as if asking them what happened to our cherished values of cultivating ambitions? What happened to the empowering notion that one can be a protagonist of one’s own story?

According to this speaker, ambitions are limited to what is in front of one’s eyes, and forever hemmed in by a web of hierarchical privileges, defined by race and gender. Instead of hearing him out, the audience boo-ed JFK off the stage, for he was foolish enough to have dared the country to aspire to achieve something that they have never seen.

The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) industrial complex has become a multi billion dollar industry that generates workshops, training, and resources to retool the workforce to prioritize group identities over individual achievement.

A WorldatWork study revealed that more than eight in 10 (83%) U.S. organizations in 2021 implemented DEI initiatives. 40 percent of companies have DEI at a C-suite level priority.

Chances are that you have attended a DEI-related event by now and know which category of a human you are supposed to embody according to your melanin content — oppressor or oppressed? Privileged or disadvantaged?

In case you are unsure in which status group you belong, perhaps picture two people who are competing in a race — one person has a clear path without obstacles and the other person has to wrestle a…



Lisa Lau

Insomniac, knowledge thrill-seeker, leisure and cathartic writer