In today's climate of political correctness, "diversity" is a term that is both widely used and sacrosanct. The word implies toleration of any and all differences among people -- including differences of a racial, sexual, ideological, or political nature. It also implies a willingness to permit others who disagree with one's viewpoint to go their separate ways, and to form institutions and groups among like-minded friends and associates. In the political arena, diversity implies decentralized decision-making power that in turn requires limited government.
However, the so-called "diversity" that is advocated and practiced by college administrators, leftist courts, and administrative agencies bears no resemblance to a defense of individual rights, a doctrine of "live-and-let-live," or freedom from conformity. Instead, "diversity" is becoming an increasingly popular catchword for all manner of conformity -- in ideas, actions, and speech. It calls for re-education programs where "diversity consultants" indoctrinate students, faculty members, employees, managers, and executives on what constitutes politically correct thinking. A key component of such thinking is the notion that whites are inherently racist, that men are inherently sexist, and that racism and sexism are traits exclusive to whites and males, respectively.
Apart from this highly judgmental view of whites and males, the "diversity" lobby stresses, above all else, the virtue of non-judgmentalism as regards one's opinions about nonwhites and females. It promotes the notion that one lifestyle is just as worthy as any other, and that all nonwhite cultures and their values are morally equivalent to one another -- even as it teaches that white cultures are morally degenerate.
This type of "diversity" is simply the old racism in a new guise, spiced up with a touch of sexism. It calls for race- and sex-conscious decisions in hiring, promotion, and college admittance policy.
In the business world, a diversity manager's success is measured strictly by the numbers: How many minorities or women are employed, promoted or enrolled? "Wrong" numbers invite the wrath of the state.
In academia, "diversity" refers only to the spectrum of skin tones, not of political or ideological perspectives. Such diversity is commonly achieved by instituting admissions standards that are much lower for nonwhites than for whites. Meritocracy is the major casualty of the quest for such diversity. In fact, a commitment to meritocracy can lead to charges of racism by society's self-anointed diversity watchdogs.
Meanwhile, it is by no means unusual to find colleges where the bulk of the faculty -- sometimes 80 or 90 percent -- is registered Democrat. In some academic departments such as philosophy, history, and political science, it is common to find that 100 percent of the faculty is registered Democrat -- even as those departments tout their own commitment to "diversity."
Adapted from: "Diversity," by Walter E. Williams (January 16, 2001).