In today’s divided society, universities
would be wise to stress unity and academic rigor.
has become corporatized on American campuses, with scores of bureaucrats and
administrators accentuating different pedigrees and ancestries. That’s odd,
because diversityno longer means
“variety” or “points of difference,” in the way it used to be defined.
diversity has become an industry synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance,
especially in its homogeneity of political thought.
campuses sloganeer “celebrate diversity,” that does not mean they encourage all
sorts of political views. If it did, faculties and student groups would better
reflect the U.S.’s political realities and might fall roughly into two equal
groups: liberal and conservative.
colleges routinely invite graduation speakers who are skeptical of man-made
global warming, and have reservations about present abortion laws, gay
marriage, or illegal immigration — if only for the sake of ensuring diverse
does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect
“what America looks like.”
did, all sorts of problems could follow. As we see in the NBA and NFL, for
example, many of our institutions do not always reflect the proportional racial
and ethnic makeup of America. Do we really want all institutions to weigh
diversity rather than merit so that coveted spots reflect the race and gender
percentages of American society?
anyone care that for decades the diverse state of California’s three most
powerful elected officials have been most undiverse? Representative Nancy Pelosi,
Senator Barbara Boxer, and Senator Dianne Feinstein are all mature women, quite
liberal, very wealthy, married to rich professionals or entrepreneurs, and all
once lived within commuting distance of each other in the Bay Area.
University of California, Berkeley, ethnically diverse? If it were, Asian
students might have to be turned away, given that the percentage of Asian
students at UC Berkeley is about three times as great as the percentage of
Asian residents in California’s general population.
disparity is absolutely stunning on American campuses. Women now earn about 61
percent of all associate degrees and 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees. With
such disproportionate gender representation, do we need outreach offices on
campus to weigh maleness in admissions? Should college presidents investigate
whether the campus has become an insidiously hostile place for men?
Inc. is also based on a number of other shaky fundamental assumptions. Race,
gender, and politics are supposed to count far more in a diverse society than
other key differences. Yet in a multiracial nation in which the president of
the United States and almost half the Supreme Court are not white males, class
considerations that transcend race and gender often provide greater privilege.
daughter of Hillary Clinton in greater need of affirmative action or diversity
initiatives than the children of the Oklahoma diaspora who settled in
Bakersfield? So-called “white privilege” might certainly describe the elite
networks of insider contacts who promote the scions of Al Gore, Chris Matthews,
or Warren Buffett. But how about the son of an unemployed Appalachian coal
miner? Not so much.
ethnic, rather than class, pedigrees provide an edge, how do we ascertain them
in today’s melting-pot culture? Does the one-quarter Latino student, the recent
arrival from Jamaica, or the fourth-generation Japanese American deserve
special consideration as “diverse”? And if so, over whom? The Punjabi American?
The Arab American? The gay rich kid? The coal miner’s daughter? Or the generic
American who chooses not to broadcast his profile?
Diversity, Inc. rely on genetic testing, family documents, general appearance,
accented names, trilled pronunciation, or just personal assurance to pass
judgment on who should be advantaged in any measurement of diversity?
an illiberal, tribally obsessed, and ideologically based value system, it is
not hard to see why and how careerists such as Senator Elizabeth Warren and
activist Ward Churchill were able to fabricate helpful Native American
came into vogue after affirmative action became unworkable in the 1980s. Given
the multiplicity of ethnicities, huge influxes of new immigrants, and a growing
rate of intermarriage, it became almost impossible to adjudicate historical
grievances and dole out legal remedies. So just creating “diversity” — without
much worry over how to define it — avoided the contradictions.
diversity is not only incoherent; it is ironic. On a zero-sum campus short of
resources, the industry of diversity and related “studies” classes that focus
on gender or racial differences and grievances crowd out exactly the sort of
disciplines that provide the skills — mastery of languages, literature,
science, engineering, business, and math — that best prep graduates for a shot
at well-compensated careers.
state divides have never been more acrimonious. The number of foreign-born
citizens is at a record high. The global status of the United States has never
been shakier. To meet all these existential challenges, American institutions —
the university especially — would be wise to stress unity and academic rigor.
in the Balkans, Rwanda, and Iraq certainly championed their ethnic differences
in lieu of embracing concord and ethnically and religiously blind meritocracy.
these are also examples of where the logic of privileging differences, and
dividing and judging people by the way they look and what they believe,
ultimately ends up.