Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Diversity versus viewpoint diversity

One of the stated purposes of diversity at least used to be to let people of different viewpoints learn from one another. However, the way in which diversity so often works out in practice has led to the use of "diversity of everything but viewpoint" and variations thereon as a punchline.

Now, the right-thinking people have responded by memory-holing that stated reason. Jim Downs writes,

Words have a history. Their meanings develop at a particular time in response to specific questions and debates. “Diversity,” for example, emerged as a term that the left adopted in order to advance the goals of yet another historically laced term, “multiculturalism,” which referred to efforts to value the experiences of marginalized and oppressed peoples. That so-called gay Republicans can co-opt that term for their conflicted plight is an abomination. Gay Republicans, by and large, are not oppressed, nor do they suffer from the lack the financial capital or social status that would qualify them as marginalized. Yet they use the term with zero historical consciousness.
Somebody is showing zero historical consciousness.

Zack Ford puts it more succinctly when he says, "Ideas are not identities." While he applies that statement against some particularly unappetizing ideas, his blanket statement both belies the above-noted stated reason for diversity and places the emphasis squarely on identity politics. It also does not explain why diversity cannot cover both.

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