Diversity: Except in Thought
by Andy Joppa
The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.
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.
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. 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.
It might also be a good idea to weave some African Americans into our police force for their community outreach. If, however, it is believed that this approach will bring down the level of negative interactions between the force and that community, statistics tell us it produces no change in that interactive result; Black cops, in this regard, are very much like White cops in almost every measured category. “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 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. 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, 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 was 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 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.
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. 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.
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.
Now for some details about that latter point. We’re told how diversity is doing so 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.
Universities and other institutions have started watering down standards and requirements in order to attract more minorities and women. Some of the arguments for doing so border on insanity. A math education professor at the University of Illinois wrote that “mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” She says that the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. A professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education published an article in a peer-reviewed journal positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege,” adding that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.”
Mac Donald quotes a UCLA scientist who reports: “All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by ‘changing’ (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?” Mac Donald observes, “Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind.”
The NSF is conducting a half-million-dollar study of “intersectionality” in the STEM fields. “Intersectionality” refers to the increased oppression allegedly experienced by individuals who can check off several categories of victimhood—being female, black, and trans, etc. The NSF study’s theory is that such intersectionality lies behind the lack of diversity in STEM. Two sociologists are polling more than 10,000 scientists and engineers in nine professional organizations about the “social and cultural variables” that produce “disadvantage and marginalization” in STEM workplaces.
The National Institutes of Health are another diversity-obsessed federal science funder. Medical schools receive NIH training grants to support postdoctoral education for physicians pursuing a research career in such fields as oncology and cardiology. The NIH threatens to yank any training grant when it comes up for renewal if it has not supported a sufficient number of “underrepresented minorities” (URMs).
One problem: there are often no black or Hispanic M.D.s to evaluate for inclusion in the training grant. If there is a potential URM candidate, the principal investigators will pore over his file in the hope of convincing themselves that he is adequately qualified. Meantime, the patently qualified Indian doctor goes to the bottom of the résumé pile.
Accrediting bodies reinforce the diversity compulsion. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires that medical schools maintain detailed diversity metrics on their efforts to interview and hire URM faculty. Medical school search committees go through lengthy implicit-bias training sessions and expend enormous amounts of effort looking for something that they often know a priori doesn’t exist: qualified URM faculty candidates.
“Diversity” is now an explicit job qualification in the STEM fields. A current job listing for a lecturer in biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst announces that because diversity is “critical to the university’s goals of achieving excellence in all areas,” the biology department “holistically” assesses applicants and “favorably considers experiences overcoming barriers”—experiences assumed to be universal among URMs.
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.
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 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.
“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
NOTE; To accompany this piece, and as a compliment to it, I am reprinting below an essay written by one of my most brilliant friends. It is so good and so apropos that I wanted to share it with you…I don’t think she’ll mind. I just couldn’t let it go to waste:
I have found a loophole which I want to share. It solved all of my problems. Here it is:
To hell with that old thing called, “reality.” From what I can determine from the media, it’s all in what you identify as. Soooooo . . .
I now identify as a 28-year-old, tall, willowy, long haired, blonde female, with athletic legs, small feet, perfect nails and gravity defying breasts. I am healthy, beyond merely wealthy and wise. My complexion is flawless even without makeup, my eyes are deep blue, and I do not need glasses, except sunglasses at the beach. I have a nose that begs everyone to nuzzle it. My eyebrows never need a pencil. My teeth are straight and dazzling. I have four homes – one in Naples, Florida, one in Coeur D Alene, Idaho, one in The Hamptons and a penthouse in a secret place in NYC where I bring only my closest friends. I collect sea glass and diamonds. I am an expert with a bow and with firearms of all kinds. The Israelis ask me for advice. I have a studio where I paint but I do not paint my own houses. I have a stable of horses that never $#!+ where they should not and some white pigeons that eat out of my hand and occasionally sit on the brim of my perfect straw hat as I stroll in my white dress in my gardens. I speak in articulate, well-modulated and intelligent sentences with just a hint of risqué humor and a sophisticated dash of French thrown in. When I toss back my hair, laugh and shake my shoulders, everyone in any restaurant I am in, suddenly turns and looks at me admiringly. All men want me. All women want to be me. When I stroll along the beach at my home at the shore, tiny fish follow me at the water’s edge at a respectful distance. I am a perfect chef, having studied at the Cordon Bleu (the way I spell it is the real way it should be spelled). I am rewriting English and other languages as a hobby. I write a book a year which is always a best seller. I have met all of the crown heads of Europe and take tea with Liz R. when I am in London. (I hate her cucumber sandwiches, but what the hell). Her Royal Smugness always asks me for advice on her corgies and her gardens. I am always neat. My clothes are always crisp, colorful and couture. I never fart. Never. I have staff who fart for me.