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The Diversity Mystique
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The Diversity Mystique
The ultimate hype of political correctness.
[1,083 words]
Richard Koss
Richard Koss, other titles
[November 2001]
[email protected]
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The Diversity Mystique
Richard Koss

I no longer get angry with people who insist on jamming political correctness down my throat. I�ve found ways to ignore them.
Now I just get nauseated listening to the network news readers and morning show primadonnas tormenting us with their buzz words like �surreal� and remember (during the days of the Bush/Gore campaigns) - �gravitas.� But of all the words, phrases, and clich�s emerging from the bowels of politically correct vocabulary, I�m really tired of hearing about �diversity.�

Our country was often described as a �melting pot,� with obvious reference to the varying nationalities of its immigrants and their assimilation into a nation of people with common ideals, goals, and yes, even a common language.

Immigration laws were changed in the fifties and sixties and it became easier for foreigners to come here as long as they had a relative who was a citizen or they were able to claim refugee or political asylum status. Societal pressure to learn to speak, read, and write in English was gradually relaxed. In fact, just about every attempt to make English our national language was defeated and today, most states provide public services in both the English and Spanish formats.

As the civil rights legislation of the sixties began to grow teeth and the affirmative action
policies of the seventies opened doors even further, �assimilation� became an archaic societal goal and terms like �typical� American quickly disappeared from our vernacular. Political correctness, though not yet defined as such, began its manifestation through legislation, but most notably, through the media, and in the vocabulary and textbooks used in our public educational system.

United States immigrants were probably more assimilated in 1904 than they are today. In 1904, 37% of immigrants were here temporarily and eventually returned to their homeland. Today only 15% of our immigrants return to their place of origin. Instead of an American culture expanded through an assimilation of people, we now have people of diverse cultures and nationalities (hyphenated-Americans), living among us in a state of quasi-integration We make no demands of national allegiance from these people, and in fact, encourage them to maintain their cultural language and customs while living here.

Somehow, we are made to believe that it doesn�t get any better than this. The more diverse a country, an organization, a company, a political cabinet � the better it is for everybody. A majority of anything is BAD. Diversity is GOOD � something so desirable that political parties, television networks, corporations, universities, and governments virtually fall over themselves trying to achieve it.

The truth is that diversity guarantees nothing but diversity itself. Outside of that, the most likely result guaranteed by diversity is mediocrity. If you are interested in finding the best qualified candidate based upon the merits of education, past performance, and the potential for achievement, you probably won�t find that person if diversity is your primary objective. We have become intimidated, once again, through the magic of political correctness, into believing that diversity, by itself, is an attribute. Conversely, the absence of diversity within an organization, cabinet, or committee is more often than not, considered a sign that discrimination or insensitivity is at work.

The truth about the diversity mystique is concealed by noble sounding, albeit empty rhetoric, just as the elitist authors of such rhetoric attempt to conceal their condescending attitudes, pretending they alone, are unique in their ability to respect, understand, and appreciate those who are most different from us.

In the seventies, the definition of minority categories was expanded to include economic status, gender, physical or mental disability, and sexual preference, giving an even broader meaning to the word, �diversity.�

I�ve always believed that everyone should be entitled to tolerance, acceptance, and respect . Today, in this era, influenced by members of a pop culture, that attitude is not good enough. We are told we should not only tolerate and respect the differences of others, we should also �celebrate� these differences. I�m sorry - I can handle tolerance, respect, and even acceptance for the most part, but I�ll pass on the celebration bit..

I send Chanukah cards to my Jewish friends and clients and they send me Christmas cards. I refuse to attend another bloody Bris and I don�t go to Temple - but you won�t see them at midnight Mass either. I wouldn�t want my son to drop an English literature course and take Spanish just because he has a friend named Julio. And it�s unlikely that you�ll see me anywhere remotely near a gay pride parade.

Diversity has become a symbol of the ultimate solution; a panacea to cleanse society of its social ills; a litmus test to weed out bigots and racists. It�s certainly an effective CYA maneuver. No matter how poorly someone performs or fails to live up to expectations, it�s unlikely their being chosen will fall under criticism, as long as their presence helps to establish or improve diversity.

Last week I had a year-end meeting with an old client named Roger. He proudly beamed that his company of twenty three people was now totally politically correct. He had recently hired two new employees - a Black man and a Caucasian lesbian.

The first thing I said was, �how did you find out she�s a lesbian?�

�She just blurted it out at our first interview. Said she didn�t want to work here under false pretenses and thought it best to be up front with it.�

�Was she the best candidate for the job?� I assumed there were several applicants.

� I never got a chance to talk to them. Steve, our human resources guy, said we�d better hire her after that disclosure because if we didn�t, she might file some kind of a discrimination suit in the future.�

�That doesn�t sound like appropriate legal advice. Is Steve an attorney?�

�No. But anyway, we�ve got a chance for some government contracts and I know they�ll want us to show diversity in our hiring practices before they accept any bids.�

Roger then showed me a brochure of a an upcoming seminar for employers, management personnel, and other professionals. One of the highlighted topics was entitled, �DIVERSITY, a badge every American employer can be proud to wear.�

�You want to go to this with me, Dick?�

Glancing quickly at the date on the brochure, I replied, �Gee thanks Roger, but I�ll be in LasVegas on the 9th of February.�

After Roger left, I thought to myself. Maybe a February trip to Vegas is not such a bad idea, after all.



"I am amazed that noone has reviewed, or at least commented on this yet. I'm only going to touch on two things as this could turn into a massive debate. Firstly, of course we must celebrate the cultures of others, not necessarily participate, but certainly celebrate the fact that they exist. Tolerance is NOT enough. Tolerating something implies a basic dislike of it, but allowing it nonetheless. Nobody is juvenile enough to suggest that you must read the Koran because you work with Muslims, or anything of the sort, let alone go to mass if you are Jewish or visit the temple if you are not etc. And you know that. This really was a rather puerile comment to make. Secondly, I was absolutely dumstruck at your comments regarding "assimilation" and no effort being made to assimilate immigrants into American society. Have you any idea whatsoever how nazi that idea is? Fine, no need to be politically correct, I'm not. But you are using political correctness and the fact that it is unchic at the moment to camouflage your obvious bigotry. Irish people now speak English due to assimilation. The holocaust was due to assimilation, or rather, destruction in order to eradicate those that would not be assimilated. Sure, immigrants come to your country. So what. They are NOT Americans. And all this stuff about the authors of such rhetoric being the only ones able to understand etc "those most different from us". "Those most different from us"?? My God, Richard, where do you think racism breeds? In just such comments. Yes, we are different. No, we do not always understand each other. Yes, this is OK. No, assimilation into the culture of the nation you live in an "allegiance" to that nation are not an answer. No answer is necessary. I'm sorry Richard, but at a guess I'd say that you are a middle aged/ageing man (I'm not about o get all personal or anything) and your ideals and comments stink of it. While believing in your own righteousness, you are sheltered in your Americanism, and out of touch with today's ideals. You want assimilation? Then...get with it! Please do not teach your children such things...please. Read any manifesto of any right wing party and you will find most of your above arguments. I don't think you are really a racist. I do think you are ignorant. I do think you are out of touch. Like I said I'm not one for political correctness. But you seem to have confused a thin-skinned dictionary of euphemisms and frightened hiring techniques with out and out racism. Which you do display. My last question. Why not speak another language in America. Why should English, and not French, German, Spanish, Sioux, Cree, Chinese be the first language. In a Country like yours, which, except for the Native Americans are ALL immigrants in some way, why do you need a single "first" language at all...outside of pure practicality. So that the white elite can stay that way. So that you remain in control. It is very, very easy to speak like you do from your position. White, Christian, middle class (I�d say). Just like those in power. " -- James, Dublin, Ireland.
"James, your comments only reinforce my disgust with the "liberal," politically correct,thinking of so many arrogant and stupid people like yourself. First of all, like a true liberal, you did not address your critique to the theme of my essay, which was, the ridiculous and illogical extremes to which political correctness has taken us. Instead, you used this review privelege to expound on your corny, clicheted, views drenched in liberalism, to aggrandize yourself, and make everyone aware that you are so elite and intellectual in your thinking, unlike an elder, washed up, out of it, bigot like myself. You make up your own definitions of English words, and pre-judge me as an individual without ever having met me. You are the epitomy of hypocrisy, but this is also true of most liberals. I doubt if you ever had a real job and probably are on the dole or a school teacher, which is pretty much the same thing. You live in a country that has been fucked up economically and politically for years and I suppose you blame elite white English people for that as well. I could suggest you "get a life" but you probably won't live long enough for it to matter." -- Richard.
"Richard, You did good. There is no way to argue with a liberal because they can't debate facts and logic. Jim from Dublin, like many Western nationals, whose own countries are screwed up from socialism and out of control immigration, like to stick their noses in our business and tell us we should be like them. Our founding fathers wrote the Constitution in English and that is our basic language. Prior to the last two decades, immigrants coming to this country were expected to assimilate and learn to speak English. This country's liberal elite who think diversity is the answer to everyone's prayers, have tried to change that. You're right, diversity is a politically correct myth that actually inhibits the achievement of excellence. " -- Uncle Sam.
"James, pearls before swine! How could you every think you can bring light into a dark room with no outlet, light switch and a powerful wind og ignorance ready to blow out any lit candle or match.... but at least you tried...." -- Liberal .
"Liberal asshole once again haunts my domain. Please learn to write and spell before you post you convoluted comments and logic. You have no fucking clue about the realities of life and like a lonely leftist without a job and not much of a life, you fall back on some Marxist essay you once read to reinforce what you perceive to be intellectual and progressive thinking. You will die and noone will care or remember you, which equates to no loss at all. You probably still live with your parents, that is, if you know who they are. " -- Richard.
"I have had many arguments with liberals who share the views of James from Dublin. Typically, they are naive, small minded people who have deluded themselves with an elitist sense of understanding and knowledge. They all read the same Marxist and socialist drivel and are drawn to this ideology because they have most likely failed at every capitalistic or entrepreneurial endeavor, including holding a real job. As usual, they attack without understanding or listening because they are incapable of objective thought. Saying that you can read most of your arguments in any right wing manifesto prompts me to ask where his arguments come from. Also, his comment that having a common language only serves practicality, is probably the best reason for it. It's common sense, so he obviously could never accept this reasoning. A belief in God and common sense are concepts totally repulsive to liberals like James from Dublin. The biggest inconsistency within the liberal philosphy is this: "How can you profess to love all mankind without a belief in God and a love for Him?" " -- A conservative scholar.


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© 2001 Richard Koss
January 2002

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