Diversity?

Syndicated political cartoonist Ted Rall published a cartoon during the presidential transition period castigating president-elect Bush for nominating a cabinet with the appearance of diversity but no actual diversity. The cartoon, subtitled Diversity Without Democracy, showed a seemingly ‘diverse’ cabinet — women, African Americans, Latinos, and a token white guy — all condemned by the label “right wing”, indicating they actually represented some monolithic whacko agenda and viewpoint.

It seemed ironic to me that good ‘liberals’ — whose notions of ‘diversity’ seem universally focused on skin color and ethnic history in all other contexts — had suddenly discovered the importance of diversity of thought.

This letter was submitted to the San Francisco Chronicle and published on 1 January 2001.

30 December 2000

I found in Ted Rall’s editorial cartoon (Diversity Without Democracy, 28 Dec) a refreshingly frank self-exposure of the narrow-minded bigotry behind the modern ‘liberal’ conception of ‘diversity’. As Rall so clearly communicated, diversity requires inclusion of only the right kind of blacks or the right kind of hispanics or the right kind of women, with the obvious implication that anyone politically ‘conservative’ (whatever that means in this era of ‘big tent’ politics) cannot possibly be ‘black enough’ or ‘hispanic enough’ or ‘woman enough’ really to be considered ‘diverse’. ‘Liberal’-minded individuals with ‘minority’ affiliations must, by definition, reflect perspectives and interests different than those of ‘white males’; but a ‘conservative’ is monolithically ‘conservative’, notwithstanding his or her individual characteristics and history.

Imagine Rall, or fashionable ‘liberals’ like him, calling Bill Clinton (or Al Gore, had the noise in the election process tipped the other way) to task for not ‘diversifying’ the cabinet with the appointment of ‘conservative’ voices. Madeline Albright? Mike Espy? Ron Brown? Henry Cisneros? Doesn’t count — they think too much like the boss. Get some real diversity in there.

Hard to picture? Not a surprise: the only diversity of interest to fashionable ‘liberals’ is the diversity of lock-step conformance with their own agenda.

© Copyright 2000, 2005, Augustus P. Lowell

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