Manufacturing Diversity

by Nox

on 10.19.12

The law of unintended consequences does not discriminate. When female college applicants are given preferential acceptance in order to balance the gender spread, and subsequently go on to become the majority, or when minority owned business are reserved allotments of governmental contracts, even at a higher cost, simply because they're minority owned; I guess it’s safe to declare a mission accomplished for diversity initiatives. On the contrary, I'd prefer to say that diversity initiatives, aiming to cultivate diversity for the mere sake of it, are nothing less than what their proponents intend to combat—institutionalized discrimination—crowding out the most qualified in favor of whoever best fits the template specified by whatever special interest group is making the most headlines this week. Perhaps there aren’t many women in mathematics or computer science because that’s not what they like to do. Of course, it’s all the result of social conditioning, or whatever other Psych 101 nonsense you want to apply to basic human nature, but luring a female into a field that she otherwise wouldn’t have pursued isn’t going to change the world for the better, or suddenly enliven it with estrogen fueled insight.

B-b-b-but, white men still run the world! So fucking what? Tell that to the kid whose college application was binned in favor of some protected-class with a better PR team or the small-business owner whose house could have been saved if they had landed the catering contract for the DNC; if only they weren’t so ethnically challenged. Diversity for its own sake misses the point and is not without blowback. We should be aiming for equity of treatment, not equality of outcome.

If favoring a level playing field over a diverse one means that a disproportionate number of computer programmers are men and that a disproportionate number of basketball players are black, then so be it. Preference shouldn’t be given to anyone based on race, class, or anything other than quantifiable merit, but it’s up to an individual institution to decide what criteria they define to be meritorious, not the government. On the other hand, let’s keep legislating diversity. I hope I live to see the day when all is equal in the world and the gray-skinned utopia of genderless Esperanto speakers that awaits. Until then, I'll be in my privilege-blind corner, counting my money.