The Outstater: Of ‘Diversity’ Lost

February 16, 2016

“I don’t know why we would not explore it (multi-stall, gender-neutral restrooms).” — Purdue’s vice chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, quoted in the Nov. 18, 2015, Indianapolis Star

HE WROTE THE FIRST APPEAL FOR “DIVERSITY” that I ever saw in a mass circulation publication. It was many, many years ago, and was shocking to some readers at the time. The quote marks are there because I’m not sure what the word means anymore, which is why I am writing today.

The editorial was well received in the newsroom back then — enthusiastically so. It was in response to a remark by a Japanese envoy that his car companies chose the sites of their U.S. plants by ethnic determination. The editorial denounced that sentiment, and denounced it soundly.

Its point was that Americans live under a different and rare system where anyone regardless of DNA who puts common law above the rule of men, even emperors and presidents, has the right to be productive and prosperous, among other things.

That is true almost nowhere else. It had made America great. Indeed, the very few places in the world that are in practice diverse first became free — not a coincidence. Political gulags can be the most diverse places on earth, the writer reminded us, entry being determined not by skin color or ethnicity but by an unfortunate point of view.

Individual liberty is the thing. It is why South Korea is not North Korea, Hong Kong is not China, Chile is not Venezuela, Bermuda is not Haiti and, if one can hope, India will not become the Middle East. But it also is why America is no longer America.

In our diversity mania we have lost the ability to distinguish between lawbreakers and any other “minority” — including, incredibly, terrorists and other declared enemies. The term has been so finely sliced and diced, politically and otherwise, that it is nonsensical.

The New York City Council, for instance, considered bills this year that decriminalized offenses disproportional committed by certain groups. Public urination was among them. Even theft and vandalism if done in the name of diversity are considered low-level crimes prosecuted by only the most racist authority.

Who would want to join such a confused society?

The mere presence of the nondiverse can be offensive, thus the need for “safe spaces.” An Indianapolis Star columnist, on a bigot hunt, wrote 536 words describing her “visceral” feelings of racist discomfort at spotting a T-shirt — at the Indy 500, for god’s sake — bearing the Confederate battle flag and the inscription, “Heritage, Pride, History.”

To preserve diversity, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairperson of the Democratic Party, explains that some convention delegates must be more equal than others “to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists.”

And thus, diversity, having risen above even democracy to the status of religion, trumps logic. The New York Times reports approvingly of a diversity training session (de rigueur worship on campus) in which evidence of mass bigotry was one Maria Sharapova, Slavic tennis player.

Her sin was that she made more money last year than Serena Williams despite an inferior won-loss record. The chief diversity priest summed it up: “It’s a sport, simply, the best should earn the most money.” It was left to the National Review to note that there is a long list of black athletes who make more in endorsements than Ms. Sharapova, and in any case endorsements are not a “sport” where the best athlete is the best marketer.

Clearly, the point of that long ago editorial has been lost if it were ever actually found. The compliments showered upon the writer that day assumed wrongly that his was an argument for a precise numerical mix. In the subsequent rush to pursue diversity for diversity’s sake we got percentages rather than opportunities.

He will never address the subject again. Nor shall I.

— Craig Ladwig


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