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In the litany of noise that we hear about “respecting diversity” what I originally imagined was that we should respect diversity because there is a lot of value to be had from learning from, sharing with, playing with, dating, marrying, trading with, writing music with, etc. people who are different than us. And what I imagined was that a quick rule of thumb for “different from us” was simply if your group was small in percentage terms.

(1) Isn’t the push for “diversity” sort of antithetical to the spirit of diversity? If we all have so much to offer one another, and we are all human beings, then isn’t any effort to carve us into various groups like, “college graduates” and “non-completers” sort of doing the opposite?

(2) My real reason for posting is rather how absolutely inconsistent we are in our treatment of “diverse” minority groups. For example, American men now make up a minority share of college enrollments, so are we seeing efforts to make college more welcoming to them and to embrace the diversity they bring to the table? Or more important, by definition, the “1%” is an extreme minority group. But I don’t see any indication that we are being asked to “celebrate diversity” here. Indeed, I see nothing but pitchforks and seething when anything resembling a richer person is brought up. But take the rhetoric of the diversity “movement” seriously and you find yourself uncomfortably arguing that if you are fortunate enough to be in the 1% then you actually have nothing useful to add to the conversation. But I am pretty sure that the women and men among the 1%, that the blacks and whites and Asians and latinos and latinas among the 1% are also worthy persons, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, friends, and more. So, it turns out that we focus on one observable attribute that we can see (“the color of their checkbook balance”) and not the attributes we cannot easily see (“the content of their characters”) when we demonize the 1%. Indeed, even if the income and wealth of the 1% is ill-gotten, aren’t they nonetheless, as human beings, deserving of respect as human beings? After all, I don’t see a sub-movement among the diversity movement arguing that all people in prison should be ignored and degraded any more than they are already being degraded.

What gives? Why are we not asked to celebrate the 1%, are “they” not people?

Finally, while we are on this topic, I’d like to see the crowd of folks who consistently tell us to “celebrate diversity” to put out an ad-campaign (preferably pasted in colorful posters on the inside of toilet stalls, which seems to be a favorite way of propogandizing on college campuses these days) that contains the message, “Celebrate Republican Ideas!” or “Celebrate Coal and Oil and the Amazing People Who Deliver that to You!” Surely, if we want to celebrate “diversity” these would be minority affiliations and surely there are useful and valuable human beings in those groups, right?

3 Responses to “Removal From Polite Company: Diversity Edition”

  1. Greg Werbin says:

    Boom roasted.

  2. jb says:

    The premise of promoting diversity, as I understand it, is that we should seek diversity in order to benefit from exposure to the ideas, culture, “way of thinking”, opinions, etc., that is different from our own.

    The argument is then made that, in order to obtain that diversity, we must (or should) make a deliberate attempt to include individuals who are members of certain designated groups, defined by someone, based on specific criteria, and that each group so anointed, must be have representation.

    If that is the case, aren’t we claiming that all individuals WITHIN any one of these groups must think alike? And if that is the case, isn’t that referred to as a stereotype?

  3. alex says:

    I agree with the larger point, I think, but from what I understand of people’s push for respecting diversity, I disagree with your premise of what this means.

    First, I think there is a difference between respecting diversity vs. celebrating it. Respecting is more of a “leave it alone” attitude, whereas celebrating is more positive. I think celebrating diversity is the harder one to defend here, but honestly I do think that’s what people do.

    Second, I think the reason people push for celebrating or respecting diversity is not just because of the value in those different from us. I think it’s also about giving those people more of a “voice” so to speak. The 1% are represented and have their desires met far more than the poorest of the poor. Society caters more to the wealthy than to the poor (would you agree?), and to men than to women. So while there are more women in the world, women are still considered a minority.

    In any case, I put this to some people who would normally dive head long into a celebrate diversity march, and they really didn’t seem to have a great answer. There’s definitely more going on in the push for diversity than a respect for all differences. Can’t say I understand it, though.

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