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Diversity should unite America

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, February 8, 2005

I was doing my laundry at the laundromat last week because I like bigger washers and dryers than most places have. Also, I happen to be a big fan of throwing all of my laundry into gigantic washing machines and getting my ridiculous amounts of laundry done in record time. The laundromat being the multicultural and diverse income background environment it is, I began to think about multiculturalism and the recent efforts at Notre Dame to push it.

Since I was dumb enough to forget to bring something to read while my laundry was being washed, I began to think about the roots of multiculturalism. Although many may consider me a heartless conservative, I do take into account 500 years of western world dominance. Of course, the icing on the colonialism cake came in the past century with apartheid, the holocaust, segregation and a spattering of proxy wars fought in the third world in which the United States and the Soviet Union used these nations as pawns in a game of bilateral global dominance.

For the past few hundred years, the world outside of the west has had some pretty raw deals in the games of international power struggles. Now, the formerly oppressed have the advantage of using the ideas of liberty originating from enlightenment thinkers to their advantage. In today’s reality, the world’s largest democracy is India and every nation is connected through a complex global economy.

In the backdrop of these world events, there is of course a special guilt placed on the United States. We were supposed to live up to a higher standard, but it was not until the past century that we really sought to become a colorblind society. All of this I realize and personally lament, but it must be taken with a grain of salt.

I was thinking of this and many other things when I was trying to get to the roots of the multiculturalist movement and its politically correct supporters. As far as I can logically reason, I believe they feel the same guilt for the aforementioned history. Out of their guilt comes the modern multiculturalist agenda. Perhaps they felt guilt over the more quiet racism of the north, which was almost as effective but less messy than its southern counterpart. The guilt brings out the culture of over the top political correctness we saw in the ’90s. It also made it en vogue for a university to have an equal spattering of every race in its brochures.

What happened to the colorblind constitution of Brown v. Board of Education? Why would an equal spattering of races and sexual preferences make Notre Dame any better if you truly believe that skin color and sexual preference are irrelevant? The multiculturalist game seems to be very inclusive with the exception of white kids. Our culture is already fairly well known and it just doesn’t look good in university public relations campaigns. We’re too culturally homogeneous to create a true university environment and everyone knows we are “born with silver spoons in our mouths” anyway.

Let’s pretend I represent a university or a large institution. “Hmm, Tom, it seems like you could stand to see a little bit more diversity,” a multiculturalist would bemoan. Let’s say he equally distributes all of my friends with people of every race with different cultures and skin colors. Does that make me a better person? Would it not depend on totally the content of the characters of the people I would hang out with, regardless of their skin color?

Getting back to the laundromat, I can compare the dynamics of a laundromat to the United States. People of all different races go to the laundromat to try and accomplish a similar objective of washing laundry. In the United States, this objective would be acquiring the American dream of a house in the suburbs, an SUV and the average two kids. The situation is completely random and race does not even enter the equation, but everyone has a similar goal. I didn’t care that the guy next to me was black and there was a Hispanic family doing laundry as well. We all just wanted to get our clothes washed.

I believe that if we focus on what we have in common instead of these cheesy diversity weeks, we can make far greater steps toward a colorblind society. We’re all people with similar feelings and desires. As long as the truth that “all men are created equal” is accepted, there should be reason for nothing but optimism. Simply following the “golden rule” consistently is enough to end racism in itself. That’s why I advocate a death of the self-loathing fake multiculturalism that pervades universities around the country and a rebirth of practicing simple virtues in everyday interaction.

Tom Rippinger is a senior political science major. He is the co-president of the Notre Dame College Republicans. He can be contacted at trippin@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Observer.