The “Chief Diversity Officer” at Johns Hopkins Medicine has already retracted, disavowed and apologized for a privilege “hit list” that scapegoated white people, heterosexuals, Christians, men, and others in a newsletter that went viral this week.
The X account @EndWokeness on Wednesday drew attention to a “Diversity Word of the Month” article in the January 2024 issue of Monthly Diversity Digest from the school’s Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity (DEI) office, headed by Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Sherita H. Golden.
“John Hopkins just sent out this hit list of people automatically guilty of ‘privilege’ whether they know it or not,” @EndWokeness wrote.
John Hopkins just sent out this hit list of people automatically guilty of "privilege" whether they know it or not:
-Middle & owning class
This message was emailed directly to employees… pic.twitter.com/xor1wjo17B
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) January 10, 2024
“Privilege is an unearned benefit given to people who are in a specific social group. Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels, and it provides advantages and favors to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of other groups,” Monthly Diversity Digest asserted, adding, “In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups: White people, able-bodied people, heterosexuals, heterosexuals, males, Christians, middle or owning class people, middle-aged people, and English-speaking people.”
The article continued: “Privilege is characteristically invisible to people who have it. People in dominant groups often believe they have earned the privileges they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them. In fact, privileges are unearned and are granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, and regardless of their stated intent.”
The post went viral Wednesday afternoon, with many critics expressing shock that the once respected and revered John Hopkins had stooped to such an appalling and inane level of discourse.
The backlash prompted Golden to release a statement on Thursday completely retracting and disavowing the privilege list. After thinking about it, the diversity officer said she realized the wording in the newsletter was not “inclusive” at all but was in fact “exclusionary and hurtful.”
“The newsletter included a definition of the word ‘privilege’ which, upon reflection, I deeply regret. The intent of the newsletter is to inform and support an inclusive community at Hopkins, but the language of this definition clearly did not meet that goal. In fact, because it was overly simplistic and poorly worded, it had the opposite effect of being exclusionary and hurtful to members of our community,” Golden wrote.
“I retract and disavow the definition I shared, and I am sorry. I will work to ensure that future messages better reflect our organizational values.”
Johns Hopkins Medicine said in a statement to Deseret News that the newsletter had contradicted the values of the institution.
“The January edition of the monthly newsletter from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity used language that contradicts the values of Johns Hopkins as an institution. Dr. Sherita Golden, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Chief Diversity Officer, has sincerely acknowledged this mistake and retracted the language used in the message,” a spokesperson said.