Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Diversity, Part 6. The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Diversity and Inclusion are both process and outcome.  The process of Diversity is a steady increase in the number of underrepresented minorities (URM) and women in all organizations (e.g., higher education, media, business, non-profits, government).  The process of Inclusion requires an increase in the number of URM and women in the higher echelons, the decision-making levels, of organizations.  These two processes, to achieve full Diversity and Inclusion, should continue until a reasonable approximation of parity is achieved, namely, half for women and proportional for URM to their share of the overall population.

On January 23, 2019, CalPoly announced the hiring of a consultant to help promote Diversity and Inclusion until the student body resembles the demography of California.  CalPoly is the only university with White majority enrollment among the California State University 19 campuses. Whites are 39%, Hispanics 37%, Asians 13%, with Blacks, American Indians, and other minorities making up the remainder of California's population.  To achieve proportional representation, White student enrollment will have to decrease by 15% of the student body.

Given geography, the URM share will vary between states, cities, towns, rural areas, and so forth.  California and New Mexico require higher percentages of Hispanics among top decision-makers than do North and South Dakota.

At some point, decades from now, Women and URM in organizations will match their proportions in the population.  Does this become the ideal outcome of Diversity and Inclusion?  Or will historical legacies continue to favor Whites?  Is there an end to Diversity and Inclusion that diminishes and ultimately ends role in American life?  Will the day come when America will be color-blind and gender-blind?

Or, will certain patterns that have emerged in the process of Diversity and Inclusion obstruct a color- and gender-blind America?

Will women and People of Color (POC) be allowed (should they be allowed?) to retain Exclusive organizations even after they have attained proportional membership in all organizations previously majority White or all male?  Will Whites and men be forbidden to establish all White and/or all-male organizations?  Will URM enjoy legally or constitutionally permanent preferences (e.g., as do Malays for civil service jobs in multi-racial Malaysia, or low-caste Dalits in India)?  Should financial reparations be a part of the outcome?

What will the equilibrium outcome of Diversity and Inclusion look like? Will stagnation fuel hostility among rivals?  Will continued change increase the numbers of one group versus the other(s)?  How will Blacks and Hispanics cope with change that increases the share of Hispanics in the population from parity with Blacks to triple their number?  Will demography upset any possible equilibrium outcome?

For the next few decades, process will dominate Diversity and Inclusion.  From mid-century on, however, an increasing number of individuals may begin to question, even challenge, the process if there is no end in sight.  This is a recipe for conflict and political instability, which has been and remains the case in many multiracial/multiethnic countries.

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