Phi Beta Cons

Why Diversity for Diversity’s Sake Won’t Work

That is the title of this sensible essay in the current Chronicle of Higher Education (subscribers only), by Professor Jennifer Delton.

Each fall, they put out an issue devoted to Diversity in Academe. I was pleasantly surprised to read a skeptical piece.
Here is a taste:

The goal of diversity hiring is something called “diversity,” and it is unclear what its relationship is either to integration or justice. It is touted as pedagogically beneficial. It is supposed to prepare students for the 21st century workplace. But those benefits hardly justify undermining antidiscrimination laws and reinvesting race with legal meaning. Proponents see diversity hiring as a continuation of the civil-rights movement, and hence it seems to have a veneer of justice, but it is difficult to discern the specific civil-rights infractions diversity hiring would resolve.

Appeals to “diversity” have become argument stoppers in higher ed, but Delton observes:

And even as we instruct our students to interrogate everything, we are loath to interrogate the concept of diversity, whose interests it serves, why it is so desired at this historical moment, or how its competing meanings become vehicles for particular political agendas.

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


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