How do you feel about diversity? Is it a good thing? Should it be a goal? I ask these questions because it seems like diversity, which is often times left open as a definition and left even more vague when it is actively sought. The idea of multiple racial, ethnic, gender, and social statuses being represented in a particular setting seems appealing. It seems says something about society — maybe –, that it has overcome the prejudices of the past which were aimed at squelching such strides toward diversity and equality. But again, should diversity be a goal?
I think it’s something to be reflected upon, not engineered. And certainly not a goal. For one thing, engineered diversity is not true diversity, is it. No, true diversity happens naturally over long periods of time, and not necessarily at the pace or to the degree that will satisfy those most concerned with racial or ethnic parity. Engineered diversity is a façade, and is inherently flawed.
One of the biggest flaws is the wrong-headed reasons for the lack of diversity in a particular arena. Most often this lack is attributed to some racial or gender bias when in fact there is a natural attraction in people of like kind to surround themselves with people who they believe are like them in ways they consider important, and these ways are most typically not grounded in racial or misogynistic reasons. It just turns out that many of the things we consider important split down lines in ways which appear to be racial. For example, my neighborhood is universally made up of white families. We didn’t choose this neighborhood because of the skin color of the residents. We chose it because the neighbors were of retired age, it was a cul-de-sac, it was in the town in which I grew up, and it was a single family home with a great yard for my children with low crime, and they all happened to be white. Finding these criteria would not be possible in the inner city where most residents are younger, busy streets lined with parked cars, plenty of crime, and I didn’t grow up there. Someone of a Liberal bent might try to assign racial bias, but they’d be wrong.
I, for one, believe there is more nobility in treating everyone as though their outward appearance is meaningless. Regardless if there is more or less diversity, the most qualified, the most intelligent, and the most willing people should be sought for the venue. Nothing can be told about the person from their outward appearance of any value, except whether they help diversify the setting.
This is also why I think diversity measurements are actually built on racist and prejudiced foundations. Without saying it explicitly, diversity goals essentially say that there are people who are the “wrong status”. This assessment follows naturally from “too many”. The diversity crowd might try to deny this, but the entire enterprise trades on this idea. Diversity says your social status is more important that who you are as an individual. Diversity actually limits freedom in this respect. If there are “too many” of one group and not enough of another, those from the “too many” group begin to be discriminated against. When diversity standards need to be met, people are no longer judged based on their personality, knowledge, skills, and abilities, they are judged on their outward appearance, which ironically is supposed to be what’s purged from the process. Think about this, if there is a certain venue you want to be a part of, a university, a job, or whatever, you have to hope it’s either not diverse enough, or already too diverse, depending on to which group they identify you.
Remember, if you believe there are “too many” or “not enough” of a certain demographic represented within a particular group, you’re prejudiced, and possibly racist. Racism and prejudice can be pointed at any demographic, not just those you view with sympathy.