Youngkin Trades ‘Equity’ for ‘Opportunity’

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks to reporters during brief news conference after a visit to the Alleghany/Roanoke Community Testing Site at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, Va., Jan. 20.


Scott P. Yates/Associated Press

New Gov.

Glenn Youngkin

is off to a fast start in Virginia, pushing back as his campaign promised against the coercion of progressive mandates and control of schools. One of his early moves seems especially notable and promising: Recasting the state’s “diversity, equity and inclusion” office to substitute “opportunity” for “equity.”

At a general level this change is largely symbolic because what matters is how the office will operate in practice. But the symbolism still matters because it represents a major fault line in American culture and politics.

The left, including the


Administration, has abandoned its long-held support for equal opportunity in favor of “equity,” by which it means equal outcomes. The latter is impossible to achieve given human differences, but it is used to justify destructive and polarizing policies that favor some groups over others.

As first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mr. Youngkin issued an executive order tasking the diversity office to focus, among other things, on economic opportunity, cooperation among religious groups, promoting “free speech and civil discourse” on campus, and ensuring that the state’s history curriculum is “honest, objective, and complete.” The latter takes aim at the inculcation of critical-race theory in schools, which Mr. Youngkin campaigned against.

The new Governor appointed

Angela Sailor

of the Heritage Foundation to lead the office. Ms. Sailor, who worked in the

George W. Bush

Administration, will have cabinet rank.

Government can do more to provide equal opportunity for all Americans, especially in education. If Ms. Sailor and Mr. Youngkin succeed in making that kind of progress in Virginia, they’ll do far more to promote genuine equity than all of the progressive equity police will do to promote opportunity.

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Appeared in the January 24, 2022, print edition.


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