The Outdated Model of Diversity
by Victor Davis Hanson
Diversity has become corporatized on American campuses, with scores of bureaucrats and administrators accentuating different pedigrees and ancestries. That's odd, because diversity does not mean any more "variety" or "points of difference," at least as it used to be defined.
Instead, diversity has become an industry synonymous with orthodoxy and intolerance, especially in its homogeneity of political thought.
When campuses sloganeer "celebrate diversity," that does not mean encouraging all sorts of political views. If it did, faculties and student groups would better reflect U.S. political realities and might fall roughly into two equal groups: liberal and conservative.
Do 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 views?
Nor does diversity mean consistently ensuring that institutions should reflect "what America looks like."
If it did, all sorts of problems could follow. As we see in the
Does anyone care that for decades the diverse state of
Gender 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?
Is the daughter of
If 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
In such an illiberal, tribally obsessed and ideologically based value system, it is not hard to see why and how careerists such as Sen.
Diversity 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.
But diversity is not only incoherent; it is also 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 non-traditional graduates for a shot at well-compensated careers.
Red/blue state divides have never more acrimonious. The number of foreign-born citizens is at a record high. The global status of
People in the Balkans,
Tragically, these are also examples of where the logic of privileging differences, and dividing and judging people by the way they look and believe, ultimately ends up.