Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant, Janice Gassam Ascre, who heads the firm BWG Business Solutions, is facing a state probe in Ohio after writing an article for Forbes titled “decentering whiteness.” The column, which discusses dismantling systems that prioritize “white dominant culture” in workplaces, has sparked controversy.

Ohio Senator J.D. Vance criticized the article, calling it “racist and gross,” and announced an investigation into whether Ascre or her business received taxpayer money. Vance expressed dissatisfaction with Forbes for publishing the article, stating that he directed his staff to investigate any public funding BWG Business Solutions may have received from Ohio.

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Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy labeled Ascre’s column as “racism without the possibility of reverse racism.” Ascre’s article advocates for dismantling systems in workplaces that prioritize “white dominant culture,” contributing to inequity and injustice within organizations.

Who is Janice Gassam Ascre?

Ascre argues for examining and challenging the concept of “white centering,” also known as the “white gaze” or “whiteness as the default,” to achieve equity and justice. She emphasizes the need for education, objectivity, and accountability in the workforce.

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In response to Vance’s criticism, Ascre defended her article, suggesting that the senator has “no idea” what decentering whiteness means and clarifying that it addresses the system of whiteness rather than targeting individuals. The controversy highlights the ongoing debates surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and the different perspectives on addressing systemic issues related to race in various sectors.