Diversity: Except in Thought Where it Really Matters
by Andy Joppa
The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.
Note: This is an updated version of a previous blog…its time has come again, and I have scores of new readers.
As a rarely spoken truth I offer the following wisdom, “Diversity is easy, unity is hard.” Nations (or corporations) do not rise or fall based on their diversity…but only as a factor of their unity. If unity can be achieved within appropriate diversity, so be it. “Appropriate diversity,” is diversity achieved incidentally as a result of the most qualified person getting the job. This is always driven by the only diversity that matters, the diversity of every individual as compared to every other.
However, the American experience clearly documents that when diversity is artificially contrived, it is always a source of divisiveness, disruption and, most importantly, inferior outcomes. When equal outcomes are achieved it is only at the lowest end of the performance charts. If one statement epitomizes modern America it is that one. All areas of contribution have been measured only at the bottom. Public school education being the best example.
There are obvious situations where diversity may be useful, if not essential. If we are marketing foods to the Mexican market it is probably a good idea to have a few cultural Mexicans in our marketing department. That would, of course, be the most qualified person and not a Mexican for Mexican’s sake. It should be noted that we will gain no benefit from putting “Hispanics” or “Latinos” there, who might be from Cuba, as these are political categories and have little to do with the food preferences of Mexicans; although, in modern America, this is exactly what often happens. This would make no more sense than hiring white Swedes to market food stuff into the equally white Sicilian market. I spent some words discussing this area, since it begins to highlight some of the absurdities that contrived diversity can bring about.
“People” are more just “people” than they are members of races. We know, for example, there is more genetic difference between two African Americans chosen at random than there is between all African Americans collectively compared to all Whites collectively. To make this clear, individual differences are always more profound than racial differences.
If, however, we believe what was offered by Justice Sotomayor when she wrote, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” we are presuming a specific characteristic drawn from a generic demographic category.
If she had omitted the words Latina, woman, white and male, her comment would have had more intellectual and moral rigor, but it wouldn’t have satisfied the politically correct position that she was attempting to make manifest. Her remark should have said…” I would hope that a wise person with rich background experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than anyone who hasn’t lived that life.”
While even the value of this rewrite is debatable, it is not loaded with the stereotypical and divisive implications of the original. I have known many “wise Latina women” (although I didn’t think of them that way) and many others who were dysfunctional dullards. This true of any group. Her inclusion of those words served her political intent but had, in themselves, no meaning, and served no purpose other than being divisive…and were intellectually and morally absurd. They created heat but no light.
Hillary Clinton’s statement in 2016, that it was time for a woman to be president, was as bigoted as it was ludicrous. The implication was not even subtle…she was saying that all women are the same and any women would do…after all…if you know one woman don’t you know them all? Every bar hopping misogynist feels exactly that same way. If I were a woman…or even felt like a woman (I can’t even imagine what that feels like) …Clinton’s remark would have been an insult. It would have deprived me (or you if you’re a woman) of my individual nature and all the things that make me unique…none of them having anything to do with the characteristics of the deeply disturbed gnome…Hillary Clinton. One can only wonder if she would have thought it was time for Stormy Daniel or Maxine Waters to become president?
In fact, whenever we hear the concept of diversity discussed, it is but a thinly disguised variation of bigoted stereotyping. In its essence, it presumes that all women, all Hispanics, all Asians or all African Americans are exactly alike and that if we populate our national process (or corporations) with any of the members of these groups that they will bring in their common, stereotypical sameness. All of this, within some magic manner, will make us stronger and more able.
However, there is not one speck of hard evidence of the benefits of “diversity.” All the while, evidence of its harm can be seen everywhere. In every nation where diversity has displaced unity it has created chaos— from Iraq to India, from Serbia to Sudan, from Fiji to the Philippines.
The mere repetition of the word has given it a dignity in our public debate that is not warranted within its measured impact. To even speak out about the potential dangers of diversity is enough to have you labeled a bigot and you can find yourself in social or vocational turmoil. Try being a university professor, as I am, and discuss even the most modest of downsides of contrived diversity…it wouldn’t end well. It has become almost religious in its implications.
Despite the fervor with which demographic ‘‘diversity’’ is proclaimed as a prime virtue — without a speck of evidence as to its supposed benefits — diversity of ideas gets no such respect. I would suggest by this measurement, there was far more national and corporate diversity in the white male dominated 60’s than there is today…far more. White males have nothing necessarily in common, except whiteness, which is a characteristic most don’t even care about, so they tended to separate themselves with their ideas.
Still, nothing so epitomizes the politically correct gullibility of our times as the magic word “diversity.” The wonders of diversity are proclaimed from the media, extolled in the academy and confirmed in the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States. But have you ever seen one speck of hard evidence to support the lofty claims? Don’t bother doing the research…you won’t find any confirming data…I’ve tried and failed.
Diversity is invoked in discussions of everything from employment policy to curriculum reform and from entertainment to politics. In conversations with most college officials, many CEOs, many politicians and race hustlers, it’s not long before the magical words “diversity” and “inclusiveness” drop from their lips. Racial minorities are generally the intended targets of this sociological largesse, but women are included, as well. This obsession with diversity and inclusion is in the process of leading the nation to decline in a number of areas. Any process where the best person is not chosen for a position will lead inevitably to decline in outcomes.
Now for some details about that latter point. We’re told how diversity is impacting in science, in an article by Heather Mac Donald, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, titled “How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences.”
Mac Donald says that identity politics has already taken over the humanities and social sciences on American campuses. Waiting in the wings for a similar takeover are the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. In the eyes of the diversity and inclusiveness czars, the STEM fields don’t have a pleasing mixture of blacks, Hispanics and women. The effort to get this “pleasing mix” is doing great damage to how science is taught and evaluated, threatening innovation and American competitiveness.”
The extraordinary accomplishments of Western science were achieved without regard to the complexions or genders of its creators. Now, however, funders, industry leaders, and academic administrators maintain that scientific progress will stall unless we pay close attention to identity and try to engineer proportional representation in schools and laboratories. This is a very dangerous nonsense.
The truth is exactly the opposite: lowering standards and diverting scientists’ energy into combating phantom sexism and racism is reckless in a highly competitive, ruthless, and unforgiving global marketplace. Driven by unapologetic meritocracy, China is catching up fast to the U.S. in science and technology. Identity politics in American science is a political self-indulgence that we cannot afford.
In a world being driven by higher degrees of commitment to excellence and competitive outcomes, America has decided that now is the time to lower standards to ensure that every legally protected group has proportionate representation. Not only is all of this producing deep fracturing of our national unity, but is creating the strong potential that, because of our designed mediocrity, America may be a second-rate performer in the economic world of the future.