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Diversity doesn’t matter

Matt Bramanti | Tuesday, October 28, 2003

If I’m lying on an operating table, I don’t particularly care if the man (or woman) holding the scalpel is black, white, Eskimo or Aborigine. I want the most skilled surgeon available. Makes sense, right? Not if you’re for affirmative action.

When policymakers created affirmative action practices in the 1960s, they were trying to rectify past racial injustices. Over 200 years of slavery and nearly a century of Jim Crow segregation laws put blacks at serious economic, political and social disadvantages. Affirmative action was intended to undo the ill effects of racism.

Now, however, affirmative action has become a crusade for racial diversity. The Supreme Court upheld this implementation, despite the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Scholars at Cornell University have written that “the result of a law is not relevant so long as there is no discrimination in its application.”

What they’re saying, in other words, is that if a university has a race-neutral admissions policy, and the class ends up being 95 percent white anyway, so be it.

Now I know a lot of people are thinking: “Think of how boring the world would be if everyone was the same.”

Here’s the problem with that argument. “Diversity” is generally measured by race, but race is a very poor determinant of someone’s character. I’m a white guy. Knowing that, what can you figure out about me? Do you know my preferences in friends, religion, movies, politics, music or ice cream?

Of course not. All white people aren’t the same, just as all black people aren’t the same, all Hispanics aren’t the same, and all Asians aren’t the same.

Don’t get me wrong; I acknowledge that there are plenty of very diverse organizations that have done a lot of good. The United Nations, with members from 191 countries, has been a strong force for peace and security. The Catholic Church emerged from the Middle East, it has thrived in Europe and the Americas, and it’s experiencing explosive growth in Africa.

But there are plenty of examples of non-diverse organizations that have achieved great things. The National Basketball Association is about 90 percent black, yet it produces the best basketball in the world. The U.S. Navy’s elite SEALs are overwhelmingly white, yet they’re some of the finest warriors around.

Basically, diversity is not a good thing. It’s not a bad thing, either. It’s neutral.

Continuing to obsess about race is just going to deepen the divisions in American society. Instead of pigeonholing our fellow citizens in the name of diversity, let’s focus on excellence, and we’ll all rise together.