Institutionalized “Diversity” as Racism

I am well aware that although I strive to express my views with civility, some Civil Horizon posts are taken as offensive by those who differ strongly with the positions I set forth. Let this introduction serve as a “trigger warning” to such people: this post may particularly offend you, as I will be taking on an idea that lots of people – including many of whom I am quite fond – hold dear. If you are one of those who will vehemently disagree with what I write this time, I ask that you engage with the ideas that I am setting down and not read into the post an animus that is not there.

“Diversity”, as that term is used in academia, in government and among corporations seeking to mollify the foregoing, is profoundly racist in its intent and effects. It is a gigantic fraud, and one that is deeply harmful to a civil society.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous, and arguably most noble, words were:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

To which I can only respond: amen. But that’s not what “diversity” mongers want.

“Diversity” as a factor in admitting or hiring is not about judging the content of anybody’s character, or his or her individual merits: it’s about skin color. It forces us to think of people as immutably members of defined groups, with greater or lesser rights, based on something over which they have no control, and that does not tell us anything about their capabilities, cultures or achievements – their pigmentation. It’s profoundly, and only, about using race as a factor in making decisions – a racial spoils system. How can we not see that as definitionally racist?

The use of “diversity” as a crucial criterion encourages colleges, for example, to admit a less accomplished child of an African-American lawyer rather than, say, a more accomplished daughter of a white coal miner. The world knows this, of course, so it looks on African-American graduates as less qualified than white ones – a plain injustice to those African-Americans who would have gotten in on their own merits. For Asian-Americans, the effects are even more dramatic – and pernicious – than for whites; they have to jump over even higher hurdles. How can this system not foster racial division and hatred? If you were a poor Cambodian immigrant, how would you feel about having the children of African immigrants be advantaged over your children?

A commitment to “diversity” based solely on racial classifications is considered to be such a Good Thing, that it covers a multitude of sins. Harvard Law School boasted that Elizabeth Warren was a “minority hire” – based on her risible claim to being a Native American (had they even seen her when they made that call?!) – but they clearly don’t give a damn about diversity of opinions: 98% of their faculty donations go to Democrats ( That percentage is more akin to a Soviet election result than what you would expect at an institution devoted to vigorous disputation; so what Harvard has is “diversity” in a superficial, non-voluntary human characteristic, and rigid and doubtless intentional, conformity of political thought. Sad.

“Diversity” was sold to the American public (and to the Supreme Court) as a helping hand to the deserving disadvantaged, but it is not that. It is a spoils system that permanently divides race against race. The superficial “diversity” of skin pigmentation assuages a lot of “liberal” consciences, but I don’t think it does much for poor African-Americans (and, of course, it actively harms Asian-Americans and poor white Americans). Those who are left behind, well, since our consciences are ok, they must have deserved it, eh?

No. No. Again, no. Poor African-Americans are being trapped in a system that encourages dependency and a permanent sense of racial grievance, while delivering educational opportunities that can only be described as abysmal. (I have spent enormous time, effort and money of my own working to improve opportunities for the deserving disadvantaged, most of whom, in the case I have addressed, happen to be African-American; but what matters to me about them is not that they happen to be black, but that they are good kids who otherwise would not have a fair shot because the public schools they could attend are terrible).

The solution is not to segment African-Americans into a class that requires special “help” – thus alienating others and fomenting deep racial antagonisms – it is to see each and every person, of whatever race, as an individual who can, and should be encouraged to, make the most of his or her circumstances in a way that benefits society as a whole.

We don’t want a society segmented into frozen classes; we don’t want one based on race. Why are we institutionalizing divisions based on an arbitrary difference in skin pigmentation?

“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in 2007, “is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

Amen, again.


– M.H. Johnston 5/1/15

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