Righty: Why do bleeding hearts on the left continue to gush about “diversity” when the guests at their dinner parties are almost exclusively white and upper middle class? I don’t detect much “diversity” among all you Chardonnay-sippers, eh Lefty? The fact is, most of us instinctively gravitate toward others like ourselves. Blacks do it. Hispanics do it. Greeks, Armenians and Jews do it. So do gays and celebrities. Even Lefty’s pampered, privately educated liberal friends do it. The difference between them and me is that I’m honest enough to admit it. Nobody who sends his kids to a private school is morally entitled to rhapsodize about diversity or impose it on others. I’m no bigot, but I’m comfortable among my own kind and I don’t see why we should have to include quotas of various favored minorities in every neighborhood, company, school, and TV show. I’m fine with blacks or gays moving into my neck of the woods as long as they’re decent, law-abiding citizens who embrace our Christian way of life. But I don’t see why we should have to send out engraved invitations to encourage them.
Lefty: I’m sure Righty would like nothing better than to whisk us back to the Eisenhower era, when America’s unofficially sanctioned national color was lily white. In those halcyon days, blacks, Hispanics, gays and even women were essentially disenfranchised and hidden discreetly from view. Is that the kind of society Righty (I almost said “Whitey”) would have us celebrate? We need to empower individuals of all colors, genders and sexualities if we truly want to build an egalitarian society. We empower them by boosting their representation in academic and professional life, and by renouncing the primitive prejudices that made them second-class citizens in the first place. All right-thinking people have an obligation to help diversity flourish. Those who stand in opposition to it must be condemned as bigots, oppressors and — worst of all — Republicans!
The New Moderate:
I’m not especially fond of code words; they tend to conceal a multitude of agendas. “Diversity” is a stellar example of the breed. When a liberal uses this richly flavored buzzword in casual conversation, other liberals know immediately that the speaker is one of them… that they understand each other and breathe the same sociopolitical vapors. They’re siblings under the skin and firmly planted on the “correct” side of the great cultural divide.
What does “diversity” signify, exactly? Well, you’d think it would imply an open friendliness toward every conceivable minority group, white and otherwise… every economic class… every ethnic group, religion, philosophy and temperament. But as Righty suggested, those who talk loudest about diversity seem to be highly selective about the minorities they embrace. And that’s what bothers me.
An instructive example: here in Philadelphia, home of The New Moderate, the most richly diverse neighborhood is the Northeast — a bubbling cauldron of hardworking whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians and immigrants from dozens of outposts on the planet. But Northeast Philly gets no respect from the city’s educated white liberals. They positively shun the place. Too lower middle class. Too philistine. No trendy restaurants. Their paragon of “diversity” is my own Mt. Airy neighborhood, which is roughly 50% African American and 49% educated white liberal, including a generous sprinkling of lesbians and vintage hippies. You can search the place from top to bottom without unearthing any Poles, Greeks, Italians, Hungarians, Russians, Lebanese, Indians (Asian or American), Filipinos, Koreans, Mexicans or Jamaicans. Republicans are universally reviled and practically extinct. Presbyterians and pro-lifers languish on the endangered list. Other rarities include working-class whites, Boy Scouts, non-black fundamentalist Christians, gay men and young single heterosexuals.
Don’t get me wrong: Mt. Airy is a handsome and friendly old neighborhood. Blacks and whites seem to coexist peacefully and even marry each other. But diverse? The folks in Mt. Airy are clearly tailoring the word to fit their politics.
I’d like to see “diversity” used according to its dictionary definition rather than the ill-concealed biases of its liberal champions. If you want real diversity, take a walk around Northeast Philly, not Mt. Airy. Be true to your creed and welcome Irish-American firefighters into your neighborhood as readily as you welcome blacks, lesbians and educated white liberals. You might actually learn something from them.
Summary: Diversity is an admirable concept, but the term is habitually slanted to promote favored minorities and exclude those who offend liberal sensibilities. True diversity embraces all ethnic groups and philosophies; it can’t be achieved through selectively imposed quotas.