“I Appreciate Diversity More Than You: Take Coffee Roasts”
Thomas Benton has a fine piece in The Chronicle, which mildly echoes Walter Benn Michaels’ book (sans wealth redistribution). The experiences of which he speaks are no doubt familiar:
So I am driving to work in my ‘98 Cherokee and in front of me is a gleaming, late-model BMW that must have cost more than I make in a year. The driver is a golden-coiffed woman in sunglasses yakking on a cellphone. The rear window has a sticker: “Good neighbors come in all colors.”
I get the message that driver is trying to convey: “You in that old car behind me. I am morally superior to you because I celebrate diversity, and, therefore, my wealth is deserved, as is your poverty.” Somehow I doubt there is much diversity in her gated community, or her kids’ school. I wonder if she thinks good neighbors come in all classes, too?
And then, most acutely:
Maybe I am misreading that lady in the BMW, just as I might have misread some members of my profession. But when people who claim to be in favor of diversity actively help economically disadvantaged people of all colors; when they count people from China, Iran, Lithuania, South Boston, Camden, and Appalachia, as “diverse”; when they support the constitutional rights of people who disagree with them on ideological grounds, or on matters of faith; then I will believe that they mean what they say about diversity.
Instead, what I see is that race has become a proxy for all the forms of diversity that elite institutions can’t, or don’t want to, include.