It’s amazing what a couple of minutes on the internet can tell you about society.
“The 9 Painful Stages of Realizing You Live In a ‘White Person Bubble’” said one Buzzfeed article.
“Why Disney’s ‘first African princess’ is the spirit animal for global white supremacy,” claimed a Salon.com entry.
“Fashion, plus-size modeling and race: When ‘diversity’ isn’t so diverse,” noted a CNN piece. (This one’s a double whammy: it’s not enough that a plus-size model made the cover; this writer laments that they’re not racially diverse enough, too.)
Just a few more minutes and a few more clicks led me to piece after piece describing the “lack” of diversity in our country (from race to gender to weight and beyond), and the prevalence of some kind of privilege (usually white).
The irony is incredible: We live in one of the most diverse (in every sense of the word) nations on planet earth. And yet the broken record continues: we’re not diverse enough.
And that some of us should be ashamed of ourselves.
My thoughts turned to my daughter—as they often have in these final days before I meet her. Exactly what kind of world are we fashioning for her, and every child that will grow up into the next generation?
We are so worried about absolute equality of outcome (or sometimes a vengeful inequality of outcome) that we’re cheapening what it actually means to be different. Yes, today’s push for diversity devalues and diminishes the value of the individual.
It says that race or gender or whatever category a person finds themselves in should automatically qualify a person for whatever successes in life they seek. And it diminishes that person’s individual contributions.
Worse still, this incessant focus on guaranteeing diversity versus focusing on character, talent and ability has the potential to turn the next generation into exactly one of two things: trembling cowards who live in fear of being accused of racism or bigotry; or, actual racists and bigots.
Yes—you read that correctly. Diversity for diversity’s sake (and public scorn for anything less) either shames a person into silence, begins to cause that person to see nothing BUT differences—or even both.
I can attest to this. Because I’m watching it happen to me.
No—I’m not secretly harboring racist or bigoted tendencies. Allow me to explain.
I never used to look at the world the way I’m beginning to see it now. And no, Buzzfeed, it’s not because I’ve been made aware of my “bubble” of so-called “white privilege” and I’m seeing the world through newly-opened eyes.
What I mean is simply this: I never used to think twice about someone who is “different” than me, because I was never brought up to see the differences. I was brought up to see people. Today, this is changing—because it’s being thrown in the collective face of the nation day after day.
I’ll give you an example: Today, I instantly wonder whether or not an African American standing next to me in line is judging me based on what they’re told I think, or whether or not they think I’m judging them based on my supposed worldview.
And that breaks my heart. While I still don’t care what the person is versus who the person is, the fact that those thoughts are percolating tells me we’ve got real trouble facing us in the future.
Now, just imagine the mind of a child, and the affect that this environment is already having. Imagine the world our next generation is facing—and what that’s going to do to the collective mentality towards differences.
Whether it’s the Indiana school district that excluded white students from third grade field trips to local colleges because, apparently, those students’ white privilege automatically means they’ll be going to college and thus don’t need to be shown their collegiate options; or the Colorado school that seemed to indicate its tutoring services existed for “students of color” only—what exactly are we teaching our kids?
I’m suggesting we think about what our endless obsession with diversity (and bashing anything that is somehow deemed “un-diverse”) will eventually do to our society. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think this is eventually going to backfire with the next generation.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I want to plug my ears, hum la la la, and ignore the fact that racism and bigotry and exclusion DO exist in our world. That’s the sad reality of our imperfect existence.
I’m saying we call out the bad stuff when and where it happens—instead of using those despicable human beings and their actions to somehow justify an intellectually dishonest blanket worldview about diversity.
Let me challenge a few “realities” for a moment:
What if a lack of black police officers isn’t because of rampant racial bias, but because joining the force often makes an African American an “Uncle Tom” within his or her own community?
What if a lack of plus-size models in the fashion industry simply means that a woman doesn’t fit into the clothes a particular company wants to sell, and not because she’s any less beautiful or worthy?
What if a lack of ethnic diversity in Hollywood stems from the fact that the chances of ANY person succeeding in Hollywood are infinitesimally small amongst the general population; and if, by definition, a person is a minority, their mathematical chances are even smaller—and not a concerted effort to keep minorities down?
I said at the outset that our obsession with absolute equality of outcome is cheapening what it means to be a part of a diverse society. It’s working to convince some that they’re the bane of humanity, and still others that their background or gender or weight should play a primary role in whatever they want to achieve in life.
Seems awfully dismal to me.
And is that really the world we want to create for our children?
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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