The Corner

Education

Heather Mac Donald’s The Diversity Delusion Is Must Reading

In her new book The Diversity Delusion, Heather Mac Donald takes aim at one of the most destructive ideas the left has ever unleashed, namely that there is some great virtue in “diversity.” Decades ago, they figured out that they could gain political leverage by insisting that America would be much better if colleges, businesses, governments, and just about all other institutions had to ensure that certain groups were correctly “represented.”

The results have been wholly negative, especially in education. Obsessing over whether an individual’s ancestors were in an officially “oppressed” group wastes resources and distracts us from the pursuit of excellence.

In a new Martin Center essay, I discuss Mac Donald’s book. She pulls no punches in assailing the harm that the diversity delusion has wrought.

One of them is the way it infantilizes students who have been admitted simply because they check the right boxes. Colleges then tell them to focus on their victimhood status and complain about anything that bothers them (like “microaggressions”) or makes them feel “unsafe” (such as hearing arguments that clash with their cherished beliefs).

Another is the way it diminishes the quality of education by supplanting potentially useful courses with politicized swill and causing schools to hire women and minority candidates for faculty positions even if they’re just barely qualified.

Government agencies have also fallen under the diversity obsession. For example, the National Science Foundation, which recently awarded a grant to Texas A&M to study how to eliminate microaggressions from engineering classes.

I would love to see a debate between Mac Donald and a diversity advocate — perhaps one of the highly paid Chief Diversity Officers that we now find at nearly every college and university. But such a debate is most unlikely because diversity advocates prefer to hide behind slogans. Lots of jobs and political influence depend on those slogans; exposing them to scrutiny would be too dangerous.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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