Diversity can be a good thing, but not when it is based on superficial DEI checklists
Think about a professional football team. I’m a Cleveland Browns fan so let’s say the Browns. What would happen to that team if it were full of nothing but quarterbacks – just a bunch of Baker Mayfields running around. What if it were full of nothing but linebackers? Kickers? Would they win? Probably not. It’s an obvious example, but clearly, the team would almost certainly be awful and would likely not be able to function as a team at all. Granted, if you’ve been a Cleveland fan for any length of time, you are painfully aware that this has been the ongoing case for the Browns regardless (up until recently, but I dare not jinx it). The point is that the team needs diversity. It is vital to the team’s ability to compete. Players play different positions, each of which requires different skill sets, different body sizes, different foot speeds, and different strategies and tactics. It is clear that the team must be diversified to fulfill these varied roles and work together cohesively. However, what would happen if we decided that the team needed a certain number of blue-eyed wide receivers? What if they decided they had to have a certain percentage of players who are under 5’8”? What if they were limited to a certain number of black players on their roster?
Superficial diversity and superficial uniformity are similar problems. They both involve the dismissal of better, stronger options for the sake of fulfilling some arbitrary objective. Focusing on things that have nothing to do with what the particular task requires will inevitably lead to inferior outcomes. Should I sign the best wide receiver I can get or should I look for one based on fulfilling eye color quotas? If the latter, I will inevitably have to scratch off better receivers and take one further down the ability list who fits my arbitrary criteria. It will only be by blind luck if the best person for the job just so happens to also check the box on my nonsensical diversity list. In the majority of instances, this will not be the case.
To stick with sports references (my apologies to non-sports fans), during the age of racial segregation and discrimination – real racial segregation and discrimination, mind you – all-white basketball teams began to disappear and integrated teams began to rise. Why? Because once non-white players began competing in the same leagues, sticking with all-white teams would inevitably lead to weaker rosters for the simple fact that they would refuse to recruit more talented black players and settle for a less talented white player. It was arbitrary box-checking. This obsession with racial uniformity caused these teams to have inferior outcomes compared to what they otherwise would have had they recruited the best players and ignored skin color altogether. A great example of this is the all-white Kentucky Wildcats losing to an integrated Texas Western in the 1966 NCAA Championship.
Here is the crucial point. While solely focusing on an all-white team was a weakness, it also would have been detrimental for the UK team or the Texas Western team or any team for that matter to fill their team with black players just because they were black. That misses the point entirely and this distorted perspective is likely why the pendulum has swung so extremely in the other direction. It was not and should never have been about just putting black players on the team. It was (and is) about removing race as a variable altogether and building your team based on talent and complementary skill sets, not skin color. This distinction is critical. The logic underlying affirmative action is faulty and it should be offensive to anyone who cares to examine it. The thinking is that black people or other minorities should be given opportunities rather than possessing any need to earn them. It is a kind of racial charity passed down from white saviors to the poor, lowly Negro who cannot figure out how to vote without an ID or log on to the internet to get information on vaccines. “He cannot get a degree unless we give him preference and ignore his test scores. He cannot get a job unless we give him special accommodations. He cannot succeed unless we do it for him.” This is the attitude behind diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. It is racism at its core.
The bigotry of low expectations thrives in DEI programs. The push for “diversity” in academia, in Hollywood, in corporate settings, etc. is nothing more than condescending pity prizes cloaked in performative benevolence for the sake of virtue signaling. That’s really what it’s about. It’s not about the people. It’s not about disparities or injustice. It’s about social credit. It’s about power. What does Harvard gain from shutting out the most intelligent, best-performing applicants in favor of poorer performing applicants? Why would they do that? Because they gain social credit. And, maybe, more importantly, they avoid losing it. They hold off the mob. It is interesting how easily it all can shift in favor of the political narrative. All of a sudden, it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate based on race and reject Asian-American applicants in favor of other races in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Everyone knows that you must be exclusive in order to be inclusive. Or as Ibram X. Kendi says, the only remedy for past discrimination is present discrimination or something. In the world of academia, Asian-Americans are now considered “white-adjacent” and are no longer deemed a racial minority – at least, until it becomes politically expedient to categorize them as such. Whatever gives these people more power or paves the road toward gaining power is what they will do, even if it contradicts what they claimed to believe yesterday, even if they were saying #StopAsianHate while simultaneously rejecting applicants based solely on their Asian heritage.
I have long determined that the people who embrace these ideologies don’t actually believe in them. Whether we’re talking about DEI, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, or the idea that we must use terms like “birthing person” to describe pregnant women, the people who embrace these nonsensical positions are insufferable hypocrites. They abandon these supposed deeply-held beliefs the second it is beneficial for them to do so. Granted, the tu quoque fallacy indicates that a person’s hypocrisy doesn’t necessarily mean their stated argument is wrong but it does speak to motive. They say we must be wholly inclusive in regards to gender and never use gendered language, but as soon as you begin making arguments against abortion, they decide that only women are allowed to have opinions on the topic. It is #MeToo and #BelieveAllWomen until Joe Biden is accused by Tara Reade. Black Lives Matter but only if they are killed by white people. The 78 children under the age of 13 killed in street violence last year and the 55 killed so far this year don’t count. The nearly 7,000 black murder victims killed by other black people don’t count. Those lives don’t matter. In much the same vein, they do not actually care about diversity or inclusion. If you are a conservative, or even worse, a black conservative, they will do everything they can to shut you out. Consider this singular example from an incident at Arizona State University, posted on Twitter by Libs of Tik Tok, where two students were confronted for being white and supporting police. Those were their crimes. The black students who were filming the video lambasted them for being racist and told them they needed to leave because they were not welcome in a “multicultural space.” The irony is thick.
Seemingly, what “diversity, equity, and inclusion” means here is “no white people.” That, of course, is the opposite meaning of those words, but this is the kind of game they are engaged in. This is the mentality that is running rampant throughout our education system. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) Organization posted a survey that shows just how committed the world of academia is to diversity. 66% of students supported shouting down speakers they didn’t agree with. 23% supported even using violence to shut down a speech. These are troubling numbers for a variety of reasons. They are indicative of the growing disease in many higher education institutions, a disease that Gad Saad calls the Parasitic Mind. It is like a collective mental illness, a mind virus that causes people to see the world through a heavily distorted lens and then believe that anyone who disagrees with that grotesque distortion is an enemy who must be destroyed.
Language, itself, is being manipulated and transformed with the sole purpose of fitting it to an ideology. The definition of racism is changed to excuse the clearly racist behavior of people like the girls in the ASU video. They, according to this new definition, which requires the nebulous idea of systemic power, are incapable of being racist. The ADL’s definition excludes every racial group except for white people. According to them, only “people of color” can experience racism and only white people can engage in it. This is what they do. They also change the definition of woman. They change the definition of violence. They change the definition of accountability. They change the definition of a human being. They change the definition of diversity. These words mean whatever they want or need them to mean at any given moment. There was a particularly jarring instance back in October when the people at Merriam-Webster went into their own dictionary and changed the definition of the word “preference” in order to justify an attack against Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court. If you remember, democratic senators pretended to be outraged at her usage of the phrase “sexual preference” in order to paint her as a bigot against LGBT people, even though the phrase has long been in common usage without any controversy whatsoever. In an attempt to memory hole that fact, Merriam-Webster decided to change the definition and add the word “offensive.” I sometimes worry that the 1984 comparisons may fall flat from overuse. They are, however, nonetheless absolutely appropriate.
DEI initiatives in our public schools along with this push for Critical Race Theory follow this pattern of reshaping reality, changing definition, and engaging in the exact behavior that they claim to be standing against. There have been cases of schools segregating classrooms into white and non-white students, eliminating advanced classes because not enough black students were able to get into them, canceling graduation testing requirements so more students of color can graduate, loosening grammar requirements, etc. There have been examples of schools teaching their white students to “decenter whiteness,” to “deconstruct their whiteness,” to be conscious of their white privilege and their proclivity for racism. Students are being taught that ideas and behaviors such as hard work, punctuality, meritocracy, free speech, individualism, objectivity, politeness are all associated with “whiteness.” Many parents have been rightly outraged by what has been going on in these classrooms and have pushed back on it at school board meetings. We clearly need a lot more of that.
The implementation of DEI is insulting, it’s counterproductive, and it’s harmful to our entire society. It is not that I oppose inclusion. It is that I oppose the idea that I must bow down to your gods in order to be included. I oppose the idea that you must exclude certain groups of people in order to include others. I oppose the idea that words and meanings must be changed based on your own dogmatic whims and that I must religiously adhere to those changes or else be punished.
It is not that I oppose equality. I embrace equality of opportunity and believe that everyone has the ability to make their life what they want to make it here in America. I oppose the idea of equality of outcome, which is what is meant by “equity,” because it is a Marxist framing of the world that pits people against one another, and instead of focusing on lifting people up, it is wholly focused on tearing others down. As Thomas Sowell says, equality of outcome is impossible to achieve – a man isn’t even equal to himself on different days.
It’s not that I oppose diversity. Like the football team or the basketball team, it is clear that true diversity is a good thing where strengths complement weaknesses and where it is based on the skills and abilities and the minds of the people involved. True diversity naturally thrives in meritocracy, where competition drives up quality. I oppose false diversity, which is superficial and meaningless. There is nothing special about your immutable characteristics. There is no reason to take any excessive pride in them. Being born is not an accomplishment. And there is nothing special about diversifying those characteristics. Having a team full of nothing but black players is just as pointless as having a team full of nothing but white players if they can’t do the job. Having a team with black players who are only there to fill the black player quota is just as pointless if they can’t do the job. The perspective should be that those immutable characteristics are irrelevant and play no role in any decision-making. They fail or succeed by their own merit. That is the society that I want to live in. That is what Dr. Martin Luther King was talking about when he referred to judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. That is how we move into a post-racial society.
There is no point in everyone looking different if everyone thinks and acts the same.