Posted on March 21, 2023

Black DEI Director: I Was Called White Supremacist for Questioning Woke Policies

Rikki Schlott, New York Post, March 18, 2023

“I’m passionate about elevating multiple perspectives and creating spaces where you can do that,” Dr. Tabia Lee told the Post. “And that’s literally why I was harassed and bullied out of my position.”

Since becoming the faculty director for the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Education at De Anza College in August of 2021, Lee said, she endured “non-stop hostility” on campus.

Now, she claims, she’s out of a job after colleagues retaliated against her for questioning certain diversity, equity, and inclusion policies at the Cupertino, California, school.


After years of working as a middle-school teacher and an adjunct professor, and founding a network to help minority teachers attain national board certification, Lee was excited get a tenure-track position at De Anza, where her job includes designing workshops to promote inclusion.


But she quickly woke up to a rude reality.

Lee said other college employees unleashed “daily, endless harassment right from the start.”

When she tried to help streamline staff communications by creating a Google Doc system, she said she was accused by a colleague of “white-splaining” — a term used to describe when white people patronizingly explain things to people of color — and of supporting white supremacy.

“I’m a black woman, and [they’re] telling me that I’m white-splaining,” Lee recalled. “[Everyone] acted like I had injured [my colleague] instead of it being the other way around, because I didn’t confess to my white supremacy or whatever.”

It happened again when she raised questions about an official school communication capitalized “Black” but not “white.”

Citing the recommendation of the National Association of Black Journalists, she suggested all racial groups be capitalized.

“For that, I was accused of being a white supremacist,” she said. “These constant accusations of calling people racist or calling them a white supremacists or saying that they’re aligned with right wingers — that’s such ridiculousness. It’s very damaging.”

She also got blowback for questioning whether the school’s land acknowledgement —a declaration of solidarity with the indigenous people who lay claim to the land the college is built on — acknowledged the wrong tribe.

She’s a proponent of land acknowledgements, but was frustrated by the alleged inaccuracy. {snip}


And after Jewish students and faculty members alike told her they’d experienced anti-Semitism on campus, Lee asked for help organizing a summit to address the issue.

Instead, she said, coworkers told her the event wasn’t important and that Jewish people are white oppressors.

Lee only made more enemies when she declined an invitation to join an informal, on-campus socialist network.