Sunday, November 01, 2015

Anna Holmes: "Has 'Diversity' Lost Its Meaning?"

   I think this is pretty bad.
   First there's the facepalmerific PC terminological nonsense ('whitesplaining'? really?)...
   But that's the least of the problems.
   Holmes is on about something like this:  "Diversity!": she's for it. We're not doing it enough. We have to do it more.
   My general criticism of it comes from the other direction: "diversity"...if you think we need it then you need to be able to say, clearly, accurately, and out loud, what it is that you think we need. Because:
   1. You're asking us to hire people on the basis of their race and sex (and sexual orientation and/or identification and/or whatever new property of people the not-exactly-liberal left might deem important next). And that's something with which liberals-in-the-broad-sense should not be comfortable. In actual fact, what's being said is: we need to hire people because of their race and sex even if they are less-well-qualified. If you accept the ideal of color-blindness, as I do, you simply cannot accept the Diversity Diktat without thinking very, very hard about it.
   Note: I do understand the reasons on the other side of this issue. But they are far from obvious and far from decisive. But 'diversity' (the term) works to keep that discussion--i.e. a clear-headed examination of the doctrine and the reasons--from happening.
   2. As one of the top-rated NYT comments mentioned: "diversity" is not affirmative action. Its goals--so far as one can tell given the fact that we never actually discuss the whats nor whys of it--are not the goals of affirmative action. Affirmative action is something that most liberals accepted as a necessary evil, a way to try to redress past and present imbalances. "Diversity" is something different. The idea seems to be that we need to seek an appropriate mix of races, sexes, sexual preferences (and, of course: who knows what else) in everything...and do so for reasons that have nothing to do with redressing injustices. Which, so far as I can tell, means that we are expected to, for example, hire the rich girl from Harvard over the poor guy from West Virginia, (i) even if the latter is better-qualified and (ii) simply on the basis of sex.
Because, y'know, diversity.
   I'm willing to have the conversation, and willing to be brought on board. But, contra Holmes, the real problem with 'diversity' is not that it lets people get away with too little of it, but, rather, that the euphemism encourages us to do something that seems morally wrong when we say clearly, accurately and out loud what it is that we're actually being urged to do. And that's a weighty concern that can't just be swept under the rug.
   This is just another problem with accepting without question the confused terminological gobbledygook of the PC crowd. 'Diversity' is one that they foisted off on us last go-round. Though that eruption of liberal illiberalism was largely beaten back--eventually--it did win some victories, for better and/or for worse. 'Diversity' is part of the legacy of paleo- PC, and neo- PC is using that beachhead to have another go at things. Last time, liberals went along with illiberal efforts largely out of fear of being accused of being insufficiently liberal. And, sadly, it seems to be happening again.
   Anyway. Maybe the PCs are right about this. But the case for that has not been made.
[Also: note that the top-rated comments at the NYT are pretty damn good. I expected nothing but hallelujahs for Holmes's view--but it isn't so.]


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