When Diversity Isn't a Strength
Diversity – The practice of including the many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures, and beliefs of the American people, including underserved communities.
Equity – The consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment.
Inclusion – The recognition, appreciation, and use of the talents and skills of employees of all backgrounds.
Accessibility – The design, construction, development, and maintenance of facilities, information and communication technology, programs, and services so that all people, including people with disabilities, can fully and independently use them. Accessibility includes the provision of accommodations and modifications to ensure equal access to employment and participation in activities for people with disabilities, the reduction or elimination of physical and attitudinal barriers to equitable opportunities, a commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities can independently access every forward-facing and internal activity or electronic space, and the pursuit of best practices such as universal design.
A number of readily identifiable issues exist with the aforementioned DEIA proposal. While I won’t conduct a thorough line by line analysis of the proposed initiative, I’ll instead offer a prima facie critique:
Diversity – “The practice of including […]” listed under the diversity category overlaps with the inclusion element. Nonetheless, the mission of diversity, as stated, prescribes what to do though doesn’t identify why it should, must, or ought to be done. If one concludes that diversity is a moral good and therefore should be a goal, then I could understand the initiative even while disagreeing with the prescription. However, no such justification is provided. A similar critique is true for each of these DEIA elements.
Equity – Prescribing “treatment of all individuals” while simultaneously highlighting “underserved communities” is redundant and reveals the true focus of equitable practice—differential treatment between groups Y and Z. That having been stated, the condition of “fair, just, and impartial treatment” is a subjective one that is highly predicated on one’s own bias. As an example, person X may think it’s equitable to take person Z’s money (taxes) and give it to person Y, who hails from an underserved community. This sort of wealth redistribution may seem fair to some people, though person Z may perceive it as theft.
Inclusion – Who determines what level of “appreciation” of individuals from “all backgrounds” is sufficient? Whether one defines appreciation as recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something—or as an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude—this standard is unachievable across a significant sample of people. For instance, if you assess 100 people in regards to their appreciation regarding the transfer of wealth (taxing the populous to benefit group Y while disadvantaging group Z), I imagine there will be reasonable pushback to this form of inclusivity.
Accessibility – Again, identification of “all people” while simultaneously highlighting “people with disabilities” is redundant and I propose that this sort of differentiation serves as little more than virtue signaling—the public expression of opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or social conscience or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue. The remainder of the accessibility description is thusly biased towards group Y and against group Z.
While I take no issue with an entity voluntarily opting to enact DEIA initiatives, I emphatically disagree with the federal government requiring that these standards be imposed upon others. The reader is free to disagree with my position.
“Diversity is our strength”
As I’ve briefly outlined why I reject DEIA initiatives, the remainder of this post will specifically focus on diversity. I invite the reader to approach this matter with an open mind and consider what I’m saying when using logic and reason, not emotively irrational beliefs.
For well over a decade, I’ve heard a platitude repeatedly expressed by various people who claim, “Diversity is our strength.” Although I’m not highly intelligent, I have the mental faculties to discern truth from falsity. This overused saying rings hollow to me.
In simple terms, diversity may be defined as the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc. As an example, the population of Texas is comprised of different racial and ethnic groups.
Strength is described as the quality or state of being physically strong, or the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure. As such, diversity has as much to do with strength as professing that the best flavor of toothpaste is sandpaper.
Perhaps the reader thinks I’m being uncharitable to the diversity and strength claim. Fair enough. Let’s briefly examine the proclamation through use of a syllogism:
Logical form (hypothetical syllogism) –
Major premise: If A, then B.
Minor premise: If B, then C.
Conclusion: Therefore, if A, then C.
Execution of form –
Major premise: If we are good people, then we won’t value similarity.
Minor premise: If we won’t value similarity, then we can agree that diversity is our strength.
Conclusion: Therefore, if we are good people, then we can agree that diversity is our strength.
The major premise is based on a subjective assumption, maintaining that morally upright people reject homogeneity—the quality or state of being all the same or all of the same kind. As such, the conclusion of this faulty logic upholds the platitude in question.
I reject the conclusion and the premises upon which it is based. Persons X and Y may support the illogical conclusion. However, person Z may argue that there is no inherent strength—or even value—of diversity of identity.
Put another way; consider the argument of one source—perhaps a person Z of the world:
Diversity is not a strength. Never has been. Never will be.
It seems logical to me. When people are divided into subgroups and forced to ‘identify’ their little boxes, there is no cohesion. No unity among the larger population.
Strength comes from people being [u]nited in what they have in common and working together.
Edit: I am speaking specifically about gender, race, and sexual orientation “diversity.” Not diversity of thought. Diversity and freedom of thought is essential. Free speech is essential.
This opinion gets to the crux of the matter. Persons X and Y may conclude that it’s good, right, or ethical to support DEIA measures—particularly where diversity of identity is concerned. Yet, person Z may disagree.
Whose argument is correct, in accordance with fact or truth? Is there a metric with which one may assess the impact of DEIA initiatives, as opposed to use of moral grandstanding in relation to the matter? If so, would persons X or Y care to assess the matter, or perhaps remain subject to their entrenched perspectives?
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently stated, “It was a grave mistake to let in so many people of totally different cultural and religious and concepts, because it creates a pressure groups inside each country that does that.”
Kissinger spoke to the concept of multiculturalism—the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society. Pejoratively, this is known as “multiculty,” because some people consider the approach as irrationally faith-based and not rooted in reality, much like the beliefs valued by cults.
Regarding this matter, one source that perhaps assumes a person X perspective, states:
[…] the initial experiment among the western powers in dethroning the cult of multiculturalism. Majorities have a right—even an obligation—to preserve their own ethics, norms, cultures and histories. They have a right to define the qualifications for membership in and even admission to their societies. This will be the struggle of the 21st century.
Growing up in the United States [U.S.], I was taught the concept of the melting pot theory of multiculturalism. Per one source, this perspective “assumes that various immigrant groups will tend to ‘melt together,’ abandoning their individual cultures and eventually becoming fully assimilated into the predominant society.”
As it was taught to me as a child, the proposition favors the notion that persons 1, 2, and 3—all from countries other than the U.S.—would immigrate to the U.S. and blend together. The shared U.S. culture would create a soup-like mixture, whereby persons 1, 2, and 3 were largely indistinguishable from the population that preceded them.
However, when I entered college I learned of a competing theory. According to one source, “As more liberal theory of multiculturalism than the melting pot, the salad bowl theory describes a heterogeneous society in which people coexist but retain at least some of the unique characteristics of their traditional culture.”
As it was taught to me as an adult, this concept maintains that the same persons 1, 2, and 3 would immigrate to the U.S. and maintain their distinct cultural identities. Essentially, the salad bowl (border) was the sole mechanism that bonded these people—not a North American collective identity.
Whereas the melting pot relates to assimilation, the salad bowl represents acculturation. Given his critique on multiculturalism, one surmises that Kissinger likely favors the melting pot theory to that of a salad bowl. He apparently isn’t susceptible to multiculty indoctrination.
Brief assessment of diversity: The curious case of Sweden
Suppose there were a metric with which one could assess the impact of DEIA initiatives. What might be revealed? After all, it isn’t as though one can’t evaluate diversity based on the effects it has on world populations.
Take for instance the curious case of Sweden. What comes to your mind when you think of this country? Do you imagine explosions? I ask, because Sweden appears to have a grenade problem. According to one source:
While the numbers have fluctuated over the last few years, cases seem to be spiking. In ongoing research, an inter-institutional team of criminologists and researchers have counted 78 cases of hand grenade explosions since 2010, with half of those cases occurring in 2016.
You may think, “Is 78 the norm?” Apparently not, because that number has risen since 2016. Per one source:
In 2018 there were 162 explosions, and in the first nine months of 2019, 97 explosions were registered, usually carried out by criminal gangs. According to Swedish police commissioner Anders Thornberg in 2019, there is no international equivalent to Sweden's wave of bombings.
You may say, “Deric, why would you pin this behavior on diversity?” I’ll explain. Per one source, “The asylum immigration to Sweden of 2014 and 2015 in relation to the country’s population is not only a record for Sweden, but is unique among industrialized nations.”
Mass immigration occurred between 2014 and 2015, and by 2016 grenade attacks skyrocketed. Still, you don’t have to take my word for it. According to one source:
Swedish police do not record or release the ethnicity of suspects or convicted criminals, but intelligence chief Linda H Straaf says many do share a similar profile.
“They have grown up in Sweden and they are from socio-economically weak groups, socio-economically weak areas, and many are perhaps second- or third-generation immigrants,” she says.
Ideological debates about immigration have intensified since Sweden took in the highest number of asylum seekers per capita in the EU during the migrant crisis of 2015.
Is diversity akin to strength when its effects result in bombings? Keep in mind that Sweden isn’t the only nation experiencing a correlation between mass migration of people and rising crime rates.
France, Germany, and other countries seem to experience a similar effect. Per one source, “Sweden’s crime spike is not an anomaly in Europe, as homicides have risen during the last decade across the European Union, from Hungary and Germany to Denmark and Finland.”
Conduct an internet search in reference to the correlation between immigration and crime, and many results will appear and suggest that there is no causal link. This is a disingenuous tactic.
Correlation is any statistical relationship, whether causal or not, between two random variables or bivariate data. Causation is the relationship between cause and effect.
It’s important to understand that correlation doesn’t imply causation. As an example, umbrella usage tends to increase on rainy days, as this is a correlative effect. However, umbrellas do not cause rain.
In consideration of this distinction, one may honestly assess the potential impact of diversity as it correlates with Sweden’s rise in crime. Nonetheless, it isn’t my argument that all mass migration of heterogeneous populations will cause an influx in crime.
While I support voluntary DEIA initiatives, if an entity chooses to employ this strategy, I’m not fond of involuntary measures to which a population may be subjected. Groups X and Y may favor this approach, though group Z may be diametrically opposed to DEIA in general.
Likewise, I don’t support the notion that “diversity is our strength.” Such sloganeering may be blindly accepted by people who fail to use logical and reasonable consideration of potential impacts to a society, though I’m not such a person.
This is not to suggest I maintain that all forms of multiculturalism are inherently bad, wrong, or otherwise. Still, I prefer an assimilation-based society to that of a salad bowl.
Pragmatically speaking, and given that the U.S. essentially has a porous southern border, I don’t conceptualize the current state of our nation as that relating to either a melting pot or salad bowl. We are approximately a spilled over hodgepodge of individually identifiable pieces of food.
Gone are the days when our national anthem was a source of pride, people bonded together in knowledge of the history of our nation, and when saying “I’m proud to be an American” wasn’t correlated with fierce debate. A nation without strong borders and that maintains little to bind its citizens together isn’t a source of edification, in my opinion.
Herein, I’ve examined the curious case of Sweden. According to one source, “Violent crime is becoming common in Sweden, shocking residents of the famously placid Scandinavian nation, where horrific acts of violence have become ‘all too familiar.”
While I make no claim that lax immigration policies is the cause of spikes in crime, I think my assessment of Sweden raises relevant suspicion in regards to correlative effects. At this point, presuming anyone has read this far, I suspect a person may inquire about my intentions concerning this post.
Quite often, I observe online discourse and hear talking points from the Mockingbird media about concerns of people who question mass migration. Generally, ad hominem attacks and name-calling are used to automatically discredit people as being xenophobic or racist when concern is expressed.
Personally, I value rational discourse and welcome diversity of opinion, not the “diversity is our strength” approach to the conversation. When diversity isn’t a strength, the consequences can be quite severe.
In closing, clients often reveal to me that they don’t have anyone in their life with whom they can share these concerns. If you’re looking for a psychotherapist who’s open to hearing differing perspectives, perhaps I would be a good fit for your therapy.
On the other hand, perhaps you’re disturbed by your beliefs about what I’ve stated herein. If so, I help people identify their rigid and unhelpful beliefs which lead to unpleasant consequences (i.e., emotive, sensation, and behavioral reactions). Maybe you’re a fitting candidate for therapy with me.
If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.
As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.
At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!
Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW
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